This offseason has been the offseason of forgetting about the Rockets. The Warriors added Demarcus Cousins and the Lakers added Lebron James. While both additions are great for their teams, people seem to be leaving out the Rockets now. Everyone forgets that the Rockets were up 3-2 on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals before Chris Paul got injured. I thoroughly believe that the Rockets would have won that series if they had a healthy Chris Paul to finish off the series. And that Rockets team would not have lost to the disgraceful Cavs team in the Finals. Coming back healthy next season with some moves in place, the Rockets will once again power through the league.
Year 2 of Harden, CP3, and Capela
The Rockets were 47-4 in the regular season when the trio of Harden, Paul, and Capela all played. That’s all I really need to say about this topic and it should be enough to prove they’ll be unstoppable once again. First of all, year 2 chemistry can only improve within the trio. Although it was a smooth transition adding Paul, it did take some figuring out early on. Now, they’ll go into the season knowing exactly what the playstyle is going to be. Chris Paul averaged 8 assists per game and Harden averaged just under 9. The “there’s only one ball” mentality does not work with these guys as they are two of the best at dishing out the rock to teammates. Also, Mike D’Antoni’s system is built to be perfect with these 3 guys. It’s all about spacing and quick offense. The spacing gives Harden and Paul open threes and also allows Capela to have open lanes to the basket. These three will shine on a new level next season.
Carmelo Anthony recently completed a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks after being traded there from OKC. Once he clears waivers, Melo will sign with the Rockets. Since joining the Thunder, Melo has been considered by most people as a cancer for any team he’d be on. However, I disagree and believe that Anthony will be a great fit in Houston. All he has to do is sit in the corner and wait for Paul or Harden to dish it to him for an open shot, and he will be getting many of those. People have been saying Melo isn’t good enough to replace the loss of Ariza and Mbah Moute, but he doesn’t need to be. The Rockets also signed James Ennis who is a great defender and can also knock down threes. The Rockets system doesn’t need stellar players, it needs decent defenders and great shooters. Anthony can for sure shoot, but with a little motivation, he can be an alright defender as well. Carmelo buying into the system is how the team will be their absolute best.
This upcoming season has a ton of implication within the Western Conference. However, I still believe that the top 2 seeds will be the Warriors and Rockets. I’ll even go as far as saying the Rockets will get the number 1 seed again. The Warriors added Boogie Cousins, but he’s going to be missing a majority of the season with his achilles injury. The Rockets are banking on having Chris Paul be healthy for this entire season opposed to the 58 he played last season. Houston will have its foot off the pedal a little bit more this season focusing on health and playoffs. For that reason, they will win somewhere from 62-66 games this upcoming year. If everything breaks right and Carmelo can be strictly a shooter for them, they could even win it all. It’ll be tough to match up with the Warriors, especially with Boogie Cousins, but they can do it. Cousins will be recovering from his injury going up against a young athletic stud in Clint Capela. Everything else is practically the same where the Rockets nearly knocked off the Warriors last season. The Houston Rockets are still an insane NBA powerhouse.
-Brandon Black (Follow @bhblack02)