Projected Record: 49-33 (6th in West)
Head coach: Kevin McHale
Projected record: 49-33 (6th)
2013-14 record: 54-28
2013-14 ORtg: 108.6 (4th)
2013-14 DRtg: 103.1 (12th)
Players in: Jeff Adrien, Trevor Ariza, Clint Capela, Joey Dorsey, Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson, Nick Johnson, Kostas Papanikolaou, Ish Smith, rights to Alessandro Gentile
Players out: Omer Asik, Omri Casspi, Troy Daniels, Francisco Garcia, Jordan Hamilton, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons
Projected Starting Lineup: Patrick Beverly, James Harden, Trevor Ariza, Terrence Jones, Dwight Howard
Another season, another year chasing the Spurs. This is one of the best teams in the Western Conference, but will it be enough?
The Rockets are star-powered. James Harden and Dwight Howard should be able to power them through games against most Eastern Conference teams, and I fully expect Patrick Beverley to take a huge step forward in the absence of Jeremy Lin. But they've got no immediate, reliable help from the bench outside of Francisco Garcia: Nick Johnson looked great in preseason and Troy Daniels was Houston’s unsung hero in 2014, but that’s a whole lot of pressure and responsibility for a couple of kids with hardly any NBA experience.
Although Ariza’s first stint in Houston was mediocre in all senses of the word, his second stop may prove more successful. Having a reliable defensive presence on the floor should stop this from happening again anytime soon.
If the Rockets can snag Rajon Rondo from Boston, that trio might be enough to take down most teams on a given night. Unfortunately, that (or this) sharp-shooting, high-octane team will suffer from lack of depth come playoff time.