Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 10/10/12
Well, say this much for the Houston Rockets: Long gone are the days of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady that got them nowhere. Long gone is last season, for that matter. Today, the Rockets are a mishmash of new veterans and draft picks, a roster full of folks who could spend three years just trying to remember their teammates first and last names. Then again, you normally dont get that amount of time in the NBA. Its more like maybe half a season. After that, the people who buy tickets start freaking out. So thats the Rockets. Theyre a team thats been given an extreme makeover by GM Daryl Morey, a team that will have to get all these revisions under control, and quickly. On the bright side, it;'s not difficult to find some reasons for hope. That includes everyone from newcomer Jeremy Lin to newcomer to Carlos Delfino to newcomer Omer Asik to oh, forget it. You get the idea. Almost everyones new. It all comes down to how swiftly everyone here learns everyone elses game. Such is life when you throw together a team on the fly. But hey, what the Rockets tried earlier this decade didnt work. Maybe this will. Last season: 34-32, did not make playoffs. Coach: Kevin McHale (fourth year, 73-87). Top returnees: SG Kevin Martin, SF Chandler Parsons, PF Patrick Patterson. Key additions: PG Jeremy Lin, SG Carlos Delfino, SG Jeremy Lamb-r, F Terrence Jones-r, C Donatas Motiejunas-r. X-Factor: McHale. The man who Charles Barkley called his most difficult assignment as a player will have to try to make sense of this all. Early on, McHale might feel like a minor league hockey coach. Not because of a lack of talent, but because of the roster overhaul. He needs to get to know his players as much as they need to get to know each other, and him. Getting this group to the playoffs could earn him coach of the year honors. Mass chaos could result in him spending next season as an insurance salesman. Strengths: Well, Lin had a really good three weeks or so last year as a member of the New York Knicks. Then he injured his knee and did the unthinkable -- pulling a disappearing act in the leagues largest market. Other plusses include Martins funky outside shot, Delfinos intangibles and Pattersons continued progress. Other than that, any sort of prediction about consistency and proven ability would be bit of a reach. Weaknesses: Folks like Lamb, Jones, Motiejunas and forward Royce White, all rookies, are likely expected to contribute immediately. Thats four first-year guys on a team with no established leader. Its not necessarily a reason for all-out panic, but it does mean the Rockets must proceed with caution (and patience). Also, this teams best chance will be to get out and run, aiming to score before opposing defenses set their feet. But wheres the shot-blocking big man to get the break started? Outlook: Its hard to predict anything here, simply because this gang of strangers has zero history together. Will Lin be the player he was before the knee injury? Will Lamb start at shooting guard, or come off the bench behind Martin and Delfino? Will Asik be worth the small country the Rockets seemingly paid to land him? Mostly, will McHale find a way to sort through the madness and make sense of it all? If a couple of those answers are yes, well, the Rockets may have something here. Prediction: 36-46. 2012-13 schedule: Link FOX Sports: Rockets home Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO
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