It's hard to feel too confident about things when you're 1-5, but ESPN Insider's John Hollinger will help walk you back from the ledge, Rockets fans. His algorithms have the Rockets as the ninth best team in the league so far, and here's why:â†µ
Houston's losses were to No. 2-ranked L.A. (by two points on the road), No. 3 New Orleans, No. 4 Denver and No. 13 San Antonio (in double overtime on the road after losing both starting guards in the first half). The only loss to a team outside the top 10 was a four-point defeat in Golden State -- no slouch itself at No. 17 -- on the second night of a back-to-back. Meanwhile, the Rockets' lone win was by 26 points.â†µ
Even if you eliminate that game, given that it came against a glorified D-League franchise, and just focus on the 0-5 start, Houston rates well. The Rockets lost all five games by a combined 30 points to teams with a record of 22-6 when they weren't playing the Timberwolves. Basically, every shred of evidence supports the notion that they're a quality team despite their 0-5 start, and as the schedule turns friendlier later this month, their record should even out accordingly.â†µ
We shall see, Hollinger. We shall see. But at least you talked me out of writing a "trayd every1 for Carmelo NOWWWW!!!" article and posting it on Bleacher Report today. Not everyone, but me.