With training camp set to begin in less than 2 weeks, the Houston Rockets are set to begin their highest anticipated season in recent memory. General manager Daryl Morey finally has the roster that he planned for, with 2 of the top-10 best players in the league leading the way. While the Rockets have an outside shot of being title contenders this season, finishing in the top 4 of the Western Conference, and advancing to the 2nd round of the playoffs are 2 goals set by Morey and the entire coaching staff.
To highlight the outlook that will be keys for the Rockets to achieve that goal, here are a few tad-bits to watch for in training camp and pre-season:
The Pressure To Meet Or Exceed Expectations:
The stage has been set: anything short of a 2nd round playoff appearance will be a MAJOR disappointment for the Rockets. With that type of pressure and expectations mounting on a team with such a young core, it’ll be interesting to see what type of attitude most of the players will have the first time they set foot on the court. The youth of the Rockets allowed each player to be pretty close with one another to a point where Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons both said that they felt like they were on a college team.
Now with one of the NBA’s biggest characters in Dwight Howard on board, having a loose locker room will be a guarantee, but will it be a problem? Howard’s biggest criticism throughout his career is his non-serious demeanor, or the perception that he’s not serious enough to win a championship.
Obviously, Dwight has not been affected by those criticisms, and it didn’t stop him from partying with senior citizens over the summer.
Perhaps, on veteran teams, like Howard was during his time with the Magic and Lakers, you ideally want your team leader and key contributor to lead by example. But with the Rockets, Howard doesn’t have to lead: instead, he fits right in with a loose and easy-going James Harden by his side. The question will be how much of Dwight’s fun loving side will rub off towards his teammates, and will it affect the team in a good way or bad way?