Rockets Are Most Improved Team On Defense In 2023-24 NBA Season

Fred VanVleet, Ime Udoka, Dillon Brooks, Rockets, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

One of the pleasant surprises during the 2023-24 NBA regular season has been the Houston Rockets. They are currently 13-12 and holding down the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference as they look to crash the playoff party this season.

The last few seasons have been ugly for the Rockets, who tore things down to the bare bones when it comes to their roster. But, this offseason they made a concerted effort to ensure that the product would improve on the court.

They hired Ime Udoka to take over as head coach. There was some baggage based on off-the-court transgressions that led to him being removed as head coach of the Boston Celtics, but there is no denying he can get the job done on the sidelines. In his one season leading the Celtics, they went to the NBA Finals.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Dillon Brooks, Ime Udoka, Fred VanVleet, Jeff Green, Houston Rockets Updates

In free agency, the Rockets were aggressive making upgrades to complement their young core. Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks and Jeff Green were the biggest additions, providing the Rockets with established, playoff-experienced veterans for the young guys to lean on.

To this point, all of their moves have panned out. VanVleet has been excellent at getting the team organized offensively, averaging 9.0 assists to go with 17.7 points per game. He and center Alperen Sengun have combined to be quite the duo, giving flashes of a Nikola Jokic/Jamal Murray lite in Houston.

Brooks is averaging an efficient 14.2 points per game, making 48.3 percent of his shot attempts overall and 41.7 percent from long range. Green has been a steady producer off the bench, scoring 7.2 points and providing invaluable leadership.

The most important thing that the offseason additions have brought to the table is helping the Rockets turn things around on defense. Last season, the team was abysmal on the defensive side of the ball, ranking 29th as they surrendered 118.6 points per 100 possessions.

This season, they have seen the biggest turnaround on that end of the court in the NBA. They are down to 110.4 points per 100 possessions, which is sixth in the league. Their -8.2 difference is by far the best turnaround to this point. According to Jon Schuhmann of, that would be the third biggest turnaround in 25 years should it hold.

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Dillon Brooks, Ime Udoka, Fred VanVleet, Jeff Green, Houston Rockets Updates

“Good (and bad) defense starts in transition, and that’s where the Rockets’ improvement starts. Two seasons ago, they allowed 25 points per game in transition, the most in (at the time) 18 years of Synergy tracking. Last season, they topped that, allowing 27.2 points per game in transition. This season? The Rockets have allowed just 14.9 transition points per game, the fewest for any defense in the last six seasons!” wrote Schuhmann.

While the Rockets have experienced a little bit of slippage in recent games, their overall turnaround has been very impressive. They knew if they wanted to start seeing better results they had to improve on the defensive end of the court.

Udoka has done a great job with his schemes in helping turn things around and the addition of established veterans has certainly helped. With the young guys continuing to develop and come into their own, Houston is a team to keep an eye on as we move along in the 2023-24 NBA regular season.

Want the latest NBA analysis, breaking news, and insider information? Click Here. Follow NBA Analysis Network on Twitter and Facebook.

Interested in reading the latest storylines and analysis in the NFL? Check out our partner NFL Analysis Network.

NBA Analyst Doesn’t Hold Back On Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving

The Dallas Mavericks are going to be a dangerous team in the NBA Playoffs. When the games slow down and become more of a halfcourt

76ers Linked As ‘Dark-Horse’ Donovan Mitchell Landing Spot

The Philadelphia 76ers are a team that many people will be keeping an eye on during the 2024 NBA offseason. They are in a position

Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama Gets Honest About Rookie NBA Season

As the NBA season nears its end, Victor Wembanyama, the San Antonio Spurs rookie, has left a significant mark, impressing fans and players alike with