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Houston Rockets’ Road to Success

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Going in to the 2015-2016 NBA season, the Houston Rockets’ roster is the deepest it has been since Houston’s championship years. With two superstars in James Harden and Dwight Howard, and quality role players from top to bottom, the Rockets have a legitimate shot of bringing a championship back to Houston. Still, as good as the Rockets may be, winning a championship is no simple feat. As Rudy Tomjonavich would tell you, it takes the heart of a champion. For the Rockets, there are several things that stand in the way of their championship aspirations.

The Wild Wild West

The toughest thing the Rockets are up against this season is a stacked Western Conference that gets better and better each year. If the Rockets hope to win a title, they must secure home court advantage by winning more games than their Western Conference opponents.

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As if the Western Conference alone isn’t competitive enough, the Rockets play within the toughest division in the NBA. It is likely that all five teams of the southwest division will make the playoffs.

The Rockets stiffest competition within their division will be the San Antonio Spurs, who recently added Rockets killer LaMarcus Aldridge to their roster. The Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans will also be a problem for the Rockets, but with the addition of Ty Lawson to the line-up, the Rockets should be a tier above both of those squads.

Elsewhere in the West, the Rockets greatest threats will be the Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, and Golden State Warriors. In the Thunder, the Rockets will have to face the return of Kevin Durant, who will be eager to remind the league of his greatness after missing most of last season. In the Clippers, the Rockets will have to prove to be better than a team who, like the  Rockets, made solid offseason moves after already having been an elite team. In the Golden State Warriors, the Rockets will have to face the reigning champs and MVP Steph Curry. The Rockets may be as deep as they have ever been, but their depth may be outmatched by the depth of the Western Conference.

Turnovers

If the Rockets are to go all the way on their path towards a title, they must make sure that they don’t trip over their own feet. Last season, while being one of the highest scoring offenses in the league, the Rockets were among the worst teams when it came to taking care of the ball. With Lawson on the roster, the Rockets will have no excuses for sloppy offensive possessions.

Defense

The Rockets shouldn’t have problems scoring the ball. If they can eliminate a portion of their turnovers, the Rockets are set to be one of the best offenses in the league. In order to win a championship, however, the Rockets must establish themselves as a top ten defensive team.

With a plethora of shot blockers and wing defenders on their roster, they will have no excuses when it comes to their success on the defensive side of the ball. If they want to win a championship, the Rockets will have to strive to be as good on defense as they are on offense.

Health

Knock on wood. As good as the Rockets were last season, they faced a lot of key injuries in both the regular season and postseason. If they can manage to stay healthy for most of the year, the Rockets should have a better shot than last season at winning the title. Making it to the Western Conference Finals with a depleted roster, imagine what a healthy Rockets team can do with Ty Lawson at the point guard position.

The Rockets will have their hands full in their pursuit of a championship. Fortunately, they have more than enough pieces to adequately face the challenges that lie ahead. Possessing more talent than they’ve had in years, the Rockets must capitalize on their opportunity by willing themselves to win it all. With preseason to set to start in less than two weeks, the road to a championship may be just around the corner.

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