Many NBA analysts have already catapulted the Houston Rockets from a team on the rise, to a force not only in the western conference, but also in the whole NBA. Nobody can tell the future and seeing how the Los Angeles Lakers season ended last year, the expectations in Houston should be tempered a little bit. But with James Harden, Dwight Howard, and now rising star Chandler Parsons, it’s hard not to get excited. If each player can play up to their potential, then the Southwest division could belong to the Rockets. Here are 3 reasons why the Rockets will be division winners this year:
1: The usual suspects always meet or exceed expectations
We all know what James Harden and Dwight Howard bring to the table. Those 2 guys alone make this Rockets team an automatic threat not only in the southwest division, but to the whole western conference. Howard also has a lot to prove, especially after the messy break up with the Lakers and criticism not only from fans of the team, but from past greats. If Harden and Howard can get put their egos to the side, realize the task at hand, and bring the city of Houston a championship, then their legacy will be cemented in Houston forever.
2: Role players play their roles
The Rockets have a luxury that not many other teams have. Chandler Parsons emerged last season without Howard even being in a Rockets uniform; he also proved that he has a clutch gene and can be depended on in tight situations. Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik both are still in a Rockets uniform and are a year stronger. The power forward position is still a question mark for the Rockets however, with Donatas Motiejūnas and Terrence Jones both improving over the off-season, the battle for the position will be a good one. Bench play will also be an important component for the Rockets success. General manager Daryl Morey has been signing role players like crazy this off-season trying to find the right fit for the team, as the Rockets currently have 19 players on the roster.
3: Defeat the Spurs
The San Antonio Spurs have been the New England Patriots of the southwest division for quite sometime. Either they are the clear cut favorites to win the division, or they are the clear cut favorites to win the west. The Spurs season ended with a bad taste in their mouths as well, losing to the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat in 7 games after being 28 seconds away from capturing the title in game 6. Gregg Popovich and company will always be in contention as long as they have their “Big 3″, and continue to retool accordingly. The Rockets have to prove to that they can win the division, and knock off the Spurs from winning yet another division crown.