After being a mediocre team for the past few years, the Houston Rockets are finally heading in the right direction. The bad part about this coming up season is they will not be very good. Casual fans will most likely lose interest outside of what Jeremy Lin does on and off the court. The Rockets will begin the rebuilding mode on Halloween night in Detroit. There will be a lot to be excited about, but the record won’t show it.
Recently, ESPN and 100 basketball analysts around the world came together and collectively placed each team in order of best to last. It was no surprise to see ESPN NBA Forecast project the Thunder and the Lakers at the top of the list, with the Thunder winning the tie-breaker. The Spurs and Clippers are destined to be right on their heels. But outside of that is where it starts to get harder to judge in my opinion. Especially in the lower seeds. 11-15 are all up in the air depending on injuries, player development and coaching. Some people completely disagree with the ESPN’s ranking. I on the other hand agree with where the Rockets have been placed.
The Rockets are no longer hovering around the 7-10 mark in the Western Conference. They are now in the bottom 4. With all the young talent the Rockets will go through a lot of growing pains. The Rockets players will need to grow together and gain experience before they can make a significant impact. I do think that the Trail Blazers and Hornets should swap places on the list, but the Rockets should stay put at #12. I project the Rockets to win anywhere from 28-35 games.
Jeremy Lin and the young guns will give hope to most fans. The future looks to be very bright. But for now the Rockets are a bottom team that will land a top lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft to go along with the protected lottery pick they got from Toronto in the Kyle Lowry deal. If the Rockets can keep the core of this team together and add two more young guns next season, the odds of the Rockets finding a few gems in the draft will increase dramatically. Be patient Rockets fans. Its’ a long, but necessary journey to become relevant again.
ESPN NBA Forecast: Western Conference projections
1. Oklahoma City Thunder — 59-23
2. Los Angeles Lakers — 59-23
3. San Antonio Spurs — 54-28
4. Los Angeles Clippers — 50-32
5. Denver Nuggets — 50-32
6. Memphis Grizzlies — 48-34
7. Dallas Mavericks — 46-36
8. Utah Jazz — 41-41
9. Minnesota Timberwolves — 41-41
10. Golden State Warriors — 38-44
11. Portland Trail Blazers — 35-47
12. Houston Rockets — 33-49
13. New Orleans Hornets — 31-51
14. Phoenix Suns — 30-52
15. Sacramento Kings — 29-53