The Houston Rockets have been one of the best teams in the NBA by most metrics after fully committing to small-ball by trading Clint Capela and slotting 6-foot-7 P.J. Tucker at center. The floor has completely opened up for Russell Westbrook and Houston does just enough on defense to get by against the better teams in the league.
Because we've never seen a team go to this extreme before, there remains some doubt about the long-term and playoff sustainability of the Pocket Rockets, as they have unfortunately been dubbed. Count Charles Barkley among those who doesn't think their small lineups will succeed when playoff basketball arrives. He went on the Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz and said as much:
"It's nothing personal. I don't think you're going to win with putting a little bunch of leprechauns out there because you're going to get worn down over a seven-game series," said Barkley. "And when you start playing elite teams, they're going to be just as good offensively but much better defensively and on the rebounds."
Putting aside the fact that James Harden and Tucker are absolutely massive leprechauns in Barkley's world, his skepticism is justified. It's hard to imagine Houston hanging with Anthony Davis on the boards for even a game, much less a playoff series. But the bold experiment has worked so far, and it's on the Rockets to prove that their bunch of leprechauns can get the job done.