NBA.com Preview - Houston Rockets

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    http://www.nba.com/2016/news/featur...kets/index.html?cid=nbatvsocial_tw_sf35796460

    Since the Cavaliers won their first NBA title back on June 19, NBA teams have undergone a number of changes over the long summer offseason. NBA.com's Shaun Powell will evaluate the state of each franchise -- from the team with the worst regular-season record in 2015-16 to the team with the best regular-season record -- during the month of September as we look at 30 Teams in 30 Days. | Complete schedule

    Today's team: Houston Rockets

    2015-16 record: 41-41

    Who's gone: Coach J.B. Bickerstaff, C Dwight Howard, F Terrence Jones, G Jason Terry

    Who's new: Coach Mike D'Antoni, C Chinanu Onuaku, C Zhou Qi (via Draft), F Ryan Anderson, G Eric Gordon, F/C Nene, G Pablo Prigioni (via free agency)

    The lowdown: After averaging 52 wins the previous two seasons and reaching the Western Conference finals in 2015, the Rockets broke even last season.

    Four years ago this fall, the Rockets pulled off one of the bigger heists in recent NBA history when they got lethal scorer James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder for basically a plate of nachos. They immediately went about building a crew around the 2014-15 Kia MVP runner-up Harden, most notably with Howard, and that earned them a trip to the West finals. But the grand experiment had a short shelf life, for a variety of reasons, and now the Rockets begin Phase II of their plan to become title contenders while Harden is in his prime.

    Just in case folks got the wrong idea, trading Harden this summer was never on the table. On the contrary. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander is Harden's biggest fan, and proved it after ripping up Harden's old deal and replacing it with a new, more lucrative one. It allows Harden to enjoy the benefits of today's inflated salary market (his salary almost doubles to $26 million this season), while locks in Harden for a few years longer. It's a win-win for the team and player, but will a monumental "win" happen on the court in that span?

    If you ask NBA personnel people, you'll get a variety of thoughts on Harden. Nobody ignores his obvious skill of being able to score anywhere on the floor. Harden can take his man off the dribble, hit the mid-range shot, shoot from deep and get to the free throw line. You can argue that nobody in basketball can go four-for-four like that, not even LeBron James. He isn't afraid to take the big shot, either, and that's a rare trait. Plenty of players give lip service to wanting the ball in those situations. In the moment of truth, plenty will shrink.

    Last season Harden averaged 29 points with 7.5 assists and 6.1 rebounds, all career highs, and for someone who shoots fairly often, he's rather efficient. He's heavy on turnovers (4.6 per last season), but again, that's mostly due to his domination of the ball.

    And that's the issue. Forget, for a moment, about his defense, which at this point is a punch line. Harden logs heavy minutes (38.1 a game last season) and almost always has the ball. That makes it impossible for a traditional point guard to be Harden's teammate (poor Ty Lawson ... he never had a chance last season). And it frustrated Howard to no end. You wonder if the Rockets will ever be able to attract an A-list talent in free agency, given Harden's overbearing offensive role.

    They did do well on the B-list, though. Anderson and Gordon will let Harden be Harden while giving the Rockets some shooting range, allowing them to spread the floor and let Harden continue to go one-on-one.

    Overseeing this will be D'Antoni, generally recognized as one of the better offensive coaches in the last decade. His hiring sent a very clear message: Houston will attempt to put the most dangerous scoring machine on the floor and dare teams to keep up. The Rockets lack a solid rim protector and a bulldog perimeter defender (besides Patrick Beverley), but if they hit their shots, good luck trying to outscore them.

    This go-for-broke strategy could backfire spectacularly, of course. There's a heavy emphasis on offense, which is always tricky, but what choices did the Rockets have? This is Harden's team and the system is geared toward him. A major philosophy shift will only happen if the Rockets start missing the playoffs, and only if Harden is swapped in a shakeup.

    D'Antoni seems clever enough to create an offense that satisfies Harden while taking advantage of the role players that surround him. That's likely enough to get the Rockets back into the playoff picture, especially if Gordon can stay healthy and Anderson can connect on the many open looks he'll get while Harden draws the double-team.

    It's a new season for the Rockets but in the most critical areas, nothing will change.
     
  2. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    Nothing illuminating here....
     
  3. mfastx

    mfastx Member

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    Thanks for posting. So much wrong with this paragraph though. Lawson had a ton of chances. It's true the McHale did a piss poor job of running a decent camp and incorporating him, you can't watch the games and say he didn't have chances to be himself and be aggressive in a way that would have helped the team.
     
  4. J Sizzle

    J Sizzle Member

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    Ahhh, yes...more incorrect Harden takes. I love it.

    Evil Harden ruined Ty Lawson in Houston. Good thing he escaped Evil Harden's clutches and went on to play great basketball as a REAL POINT GUARD in Indiana! Wait a second...

    And ahhh, yes...more Dwight Howard apologists. I love it as well.

    Evil Harden did not give Dwight Howard, who is very bad at post touches, post touches. Evil Harden wanted to run pick and roll. Dwight Howard, who is very good at pick and roll, did not want to run pick and roll. Dwight Howard was frustrated because he was told to do what he's good at and not what he's bad at.

    Frustrating, indeed!
     
  5. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Contributing Member

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    media conspiracy
     
  6. Surfguy

    Surfguy Contributing Member

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    My expectations are low for this season. I just don't see it. Hope I'm wrong.
     
  7. buzz1701

    buzz1701 Contributing Member

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    I think the team will be fun to watch this season. After all it's entertainment. Those Van Gundy teams won but they were just awful to watch. I would rather win the title ugly for sure, but I'm still excited about the team this year. LET THE SCORING BEGIN!
     
  8. abaker28

    abaker28 Member

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    Thought the article could've been a bit more in-depth.
    Although I'm getting the impression the media are starting to be a bit more friendly towards Houston compared to previous years.
     
  9. rocketsmetalspd

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    I believe the Rockets will surprise a lot of teams and fans this season. Most are concentrating on the team being an all out offensive team but I believe with the addition of coach Jeff Bzdelik the D will so much better that they will surpass their past season play on D. This will allow the team to make a solid push during the playoffs.
     
  10. peleincubus

    peleincubus Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  11. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. 34to11

    34to11 Member

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    There is absolutely nothing insightful about this article whatsoever.

    I knew not to expect much when he failed to get basic facts correct.
    The Rockets averaged 55 wins the previous two season (54 wins in '14 and 56 wins in '15)


    And this was nothing short of hilarious. There should be a penalty for publishing something so clueless, on NBA.com no less.
     
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