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Team Preview: Houston Rockets
Tenth on the list is the Houston Rockets. The Rockets had a remarkable offseason, as they were able to reel in the most enticing name on the free agent market, Dwight Howard. However, Howard wasn’t the only player that the Rockets were able to acquire. Let’s take a look at all the offseason moves made by the Rockets this season:
What went right?
It may sound as if I am taking the easy way out on this one, but nothing went wrong for the Rockets this offseason. The Rockets only got better this offseason with the acquisitions they made and they have made themselves legitimate contenders.
Let’s start off with the biggest splash of the season that had Dwight Howard heading to H-Town. Despite several interested teams, Dwight chose to take his talents to Houston in hopes to become a threat in the West. This move solidifies a position that the Rockets have been longing to have since the Yao Ming era. They were never really able to replace Yao, but now with the acquisition of Dwight, they have a threat at the Center position once again. The Rockets also signed Marcus Camby to back up Howard/Asik. Camby has struggled to stay healithy over the past few seasons, but when healthy, he’s a solid backup Center.
They were also able to bring in young talents to an already young Rockets team. When you look at the team’s losses in the offseason, as a fan, you must be glad that it didn’t affect the team’s progress as they move forward.
Despite the loss of Jose Calderon, the Rockets didn’t lose much at all. The loss of Royce White means nothing simply because he was a question mark from the minute he was drafted. Unfortunately, Royce White never planned out to be what the Rockets thought they were getting. The Rockets without a doubt are a much better team than they were before the offseason.
Let’s take a look at the Rocket’s projected starting five:
The biggest question mark on the Houston roster is the power forward position.. They don’t have a clear-cut starter yet and will most likely decide sometime before the regular season opener. For now, it seems as if Terrence Jones will be penciled in the four spot.
Another big question mark the Rockets have is at the point guard position. The problem I see with Lin is that expectations were given to him too quickly. Unfortunately, in the NBA, half a season shouldn’t earn you a contract or responsibilities like the ones he has in Houston. After missing the majority of the season last year, Lin is looking to come back and return to playing like the Jeremy Lin that had that remarkable run in New York.
James Harden has become the face of the franchise the short time he’s been here. He is a playmaker that simply is a prolific scorer in this league. It will be interesting to see how Harden and Howard click on the court.
The Howard contract cost the Rockets a lot of money towards the cap so let’s take a look at the Rockets’ cap until the 2017-2018 season:
Tyler Honeycutt – X
As you can see, Dwight Howard is set to make a ton of money the four seasons he’s under contract especially as his contract has a back end bonus that has his monetary value each season increasing. However, the Rockets haven’t committed as much money to players which also allowed them to make the run for D12.
I don’t believe there is a doubt that the Rockets will be back in the playoffs this season. They were a good team last season without Dwight Howard, and they will only become better. Keep a close eye on Jeremy Lin and his situation because I don’t believe that his job is too secure no matter how much Harden and Howard enjoy playing with him. At the end of the day, it’s all about winning and if Lin isn’t cutting it, then the Rockets will look elsewhere. I see the Rockets finishing 5th in the West. Kevin McHale will be in charge of running this team for yet another season. The Dwight Howard era in H-Town has started!
(Salary table courtesy of www.hoopsworld.com)
Thanks for reading!
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