The Houston Rockets were one of strangest teams to watch last year. They buzzed through the regular season to secure a decent playoff spot. Then they easily dispatched Dallas in the first round of the playoffs. However, the second round proved more difficult as they dropped 3 straight to the Clippers. With their backs against the wall, they rebounded and won the series, advancing to face Golden State (the eventual champions) in the conference finals. In the conference finals, they played a sloppy but scrappy series, winning two games before being eliminated.
What They Did:
The Rockets selected Wisconsin freshman Sam Dekker with the 18th pick in the draft. Dekker is a stretch small forward who has drawn comparisons to Chandler Parsons. He has a decent inside-outside game and good athleticism. He should fit well in the Rockets’ up-tempo offence and will provide them with decent scoring off the bench. He may even work his way into the starting lineup by the season’s end.
What They Did Not Do:
Many experts expected the Rockets to make a play for LaMarcus Aldridge to provide a balance between James Harden and Dwight Howard. However, the Rockets did not even attempt to make him an offer. Consequently, he signed with San Antonio. By failing to sign Aldridge, the Rockets let a big time scorer get away from them and, even worse, join one of their closest rivals. Aldridge could have helped Houston immensely by stretching the floor for James Harden and Dwight Howard, which would have created more scoring opportunities for them in their half court sets.
What to Expect Next Year:
Graphic via lasportsanostra
Houston has a good core to build around in James Harden and Dwight Howard. Howard is still the best center in basketball despite his sloppy play during past couple of years. He can still score 20 points per game and grab 10 or more rebounds. Meanwhile, James Harden (shooting guard) has won or competed for 3 straight scoring titles. His excellent shooting skills combined with quickness and exceptional moves make him impossible to guard even when he is having a bad game. This core should get Houston a good playoff position, but whether it is enough to take them to the NBA finals is another story. One thing that Houston is sure to provide is fast, high-scoring games that are fun to watch.
Graphic via houseofhouston