Through eight games so far this season, the Houston Rockets have not scored nearly as many points per game as they had in recent years.
Houston is known for a high-octane offense that averaged 1.15 points per possession (second-most in the NBA) last season. This year, they have scored 1.05 points per possession, which is middle of the road in the league. It’s lowered their overall points per game from 114.4 last season to 104.2 this season.
The Rockets average 99.87 possessions per 48 minutes. This ranks No. 20 overall in terms of the fastest style of play so far, albeit a small sample size. While it’s not indicative of performance, it’s still noteworthy when compared to last season.
Chris Paul, who was one of the five slowest starting guards in the league in 2016-17, cannot be blamed for the issue considering he has played just one game and has sat the rest out due to injury.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni does not seem concerned, though he recently said his team could “push it” more often. But the numbers don’t look great.
John Schumann of NBA.com notes that only three other teams are playing slower to start the season than their average from last year. According to Basketball-Reference, the league average pace has also increased this season.
During their 2016-17 campaign, Houston averaged 102.54 possessions per 48 minutes. This ranked behind just the Suns and Nets for most in the league; it was ahead of teams known for fast-paced offenses like the Warriors and the Thunder.
The Rockets will likely make adjustments moving forward to speed up their game as the season progresses.