Rafael Stone insists 2020-21 Rockets derailed by injuries, not tanking

At 50 video games into the 2020-21 season, the Houston Firecrackers (13-37) have the NBA’s second-worst record. However according to basic supervisor Rafael Stone, it’s definitely not by style from the company.

On Wednesday, SportsTalk 790 host Sean Salisbury asked Stone if he was upset by talk of “tanking” — i.e. purposefully losing video games to increase the group’s chances of getting a high choice from the 2021 draft lottery game.

Stone responded:

I don’t understand if I get upset, however it’s not what we are doing. There certainly are groups doing it, it’s simply not what we are doing. We simply took definitely devastating injuries this year. That’s what occurred.

So, our record is what it is. I do believe there are groups that are attempting extremely hard not to win video games, that are completely healthy. Various groups are selecting to do various things for various factors.

To Stone’s point, Christian Wood and Eric Gordon have actually each missed out on 23 of the group’s 50 video games this season (almost half). John Wall has actually missed out on 18. When the Firecrackers had Victor Oladipo, he suffered both injury lacks and a failure to use both ends of back-to-backs due to injury upkeep. A number of those lacks have actually overlapped, which has actually had a debilitating result on the rotation alternatives offered to Stephen Silas.

Hence, as the Firecrackers see it, their record isn’t reflective of where they would be, if the group hadn’t had such misfortune with injuries. In turn, that might provide hope of a quicker-than-expected turn-around for the Firecrackers, if and when their bad injury luck reverses.

From Stone’s point of view, another advantage to that technique is the various future draft choices they have actually obtained from groups such as Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Portland, Detroit, and Washington. Based upon the variety of choice alternatives, Stone states the Firecrackers don’t feel as forced to “tank” as lots of other groups around the league.

“To me, tanking is intentionally trying to be as bad as you can, so that your draft pick is the one that gets you over the hump,” Stone informed Salisbury. “We’re thankful that we have draft picks from other teams, and betting a little bit, maybe, that some of them struggle in the future. As a result, we’re more willing to try and be competitive.”

“We want to be young and competitive,” Stone highlighted. “Again, that’s harder. But at least a mix of middle [ages] and young. That’s kind of the goal, for this team.”


Rafael Stone names Wood, Porter Jr., Tate, Martin as Firecrackers’ young core

Rafael Stone does not believe Firecrackers require ‘wholesale tank technique’

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.