Lou Williams – a longtime NBA guard – commended Houston Rockets veterans Dillon Brooks and Fred VanVleet for their impact on the team early in the 2023-24 season.
"What [Dillon Brooks] and Fred VanVleet has done with that young group down there in Houston, they've energized these guys." 🙌@TeamLou23 thinks Dillon Brooks is showing how important having vets on your team is. 👏
— Run It Back (@RunItBackFDTV) November 20, 2023
Houston is 6-5 through its first 11 games of the season, but that’s already looking like a major improvement over the team’s previous seasons. Over the three previous seasons, Houston won 17 games (2020-21 season), 20 games (2021-22 season) and 22 games (2022-23 season). The team ended up getting a top pick in the NBA draft in each of the following offseasons.
However, this past offseason, the Rockets added a former NBA champion in VanVleet and strong veteran defender in Brooks to attempt to compete this season.
So far, the plan has worked out. Houston enters Monday night’s contest against the Golden State Warriors as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.
The team has been extremely impressive on defense under new head coach Ime Udoka, ranking fourth in the NBA in defensive rating and third in opponent points per game. The Rockets are giving up just 105.7 points per game this season. Only the New York Knicks (104.9) and Boston Celtics (105.5) are allowing less.
VanVleet has been a steadying presence at the point guard position for the Rockets, averaging a team-high 8.8 assists per game this season. While he’s only shooting 39.2 percent from the field, VanVleet has been solid from beyond the arc (37.9 percent) while averaging 17.2 points per game.
Brooks, who spent the beginning of his NBA career with the Memphis Grizzlies, is averaging 13.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He gives Houston an above-average defender on the wing that is willing to take on some of the toughest challenges defensively in the NBA.
There’s still a long way to go for Houston this season, but the team is already showing improvement compared to the past few seasons. The Rockets certainly have a chance to surpass their win total from last season (22 games) with the current group that they have.
Houston has lost two straight, but it will look to get back in the win column on Monday night against Golden State. That game is scheduled to tip off at 10 p.m. EST.