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5 Roadblocks Preventing The Houston Rockets from Winning West

By Bill Simpson
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4. Youth

As noted earlier, Houston’s average age is 25, fourth youngest in the league.

Last year was a great learning experience as newcomers James Harden and Jeremy Lin learned to gel with the team. The Rockets made the playoffs as an eighth seed but were eliminated in the first round by Harden’s ex-team. Besides Harden, no contributing Rocket had experienced a championship run. Now they’ve added another piece in Howard that’s also been there. But with him they have a new identity and are almost a completely different team. Therefore they need more time to gel again.

Dec 23, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin (7) warms up before a game against the Dallas Mavericks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Even the Miami Heat couldn’t win it all when LeBron James first came to town.

But this team is too talented to not compete with the best right now, and it would be a waste to call this season another learning experience—but perhaps not if it resulted in a deep playoff run.

Look at the Indiana Pacers or Memphis Grizzlies in last season’s playoffs, or the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011. It’s hard to win the Conference Finals when it’s a team’s first time there; Howard and Harden have each been there, but not with this group.

That’s where the inexperience factors in: deep in the playoffs.

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