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Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Where to from here?

Apr 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and center Dwight Howard (12) between plays during the third quarter in game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 27, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and center Dwight Howard (12) between plays during the third quarter in game five of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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With Houston’s 2015-2016 season in the rearview mirror, it’s time to start addressing all the issues that have been on the back burner for months.

Where will Dwight Howard play? Who will coach the Houston Rockets? Can anybody motivate James Harden to play defense? Those are just some of the questions that will need to be answered before next season starts if Houston’s front office wants to see more success than they did this year.

If I had to guess how many players from this year’s roster will return next year to Houston, I’d say less than half. It’s disheartening to see a team have to rebuild just one year removed from a trip to the Western Conference Finals, but alas it is what it is.

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

The Rockets have more issues than the ones I highlighted a moment ago, and the ones I did mention are deeper and more complex than meets the eye. Mika Honkasalo of HoopsHype outlined the things that are in need of fixing with Houston and how they can be fixed before next season.

At the very least, Howard could always make the defense respectable. And while he isn’t bad, Howard certainly isn’t the singular answer to a team’s defensive woes.

That being said, the Rockets perimeter defense hasn’t done anything to put Howard in a position to succeed. Harden, of course, does whatever he wants. Jason Terry can’t stop anyone. Lawson was a disaster during his time. More notably, however, both Corey Brewer and Trevor Ariza are among the most overrated defenders in the NBA.

The previous article mentions the fact that Howard has regressed significantly over the course of this season. Despite that, though, he is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and seek employment elsewhere in the league. There have been rumors of him signing with a myriad of teams, but Michael Pina of Fox Sports ranked the top four spots for the big fella to end up.

"What’s so funny/sad about the state of Howard’s career is he may no longer be a great fit on teams that already have momentum. A few years ago, when he left the Lakers and signed with Houston, Howard was heavily recruited by several teams that believed he was the missing exclamation point to lift them over the top and into the Finals."

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While many fans will be happy to see Dwight leave Houston, I’m actually not in agreement. I think that he hasn’t been the primary issue for the Rockets this season, but rather that it is Harden. Howard has averaged a double-double while shooting the fewest shots of his career and is often the only acceptable part of Houston’s defense. To back up my claim, Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report also dares to ask the question, “Is Harden a bigger issue in Houston than Howard?

"“Our team was just not strong enough mentally to get through those adversities and learn,” Jason Terry said Wednesday after the   eliminated the Rockets, per   of ESPN.com. “A lesson for [Harden] as a star of a team, you have to deal with certain issues and still be able to be mentally tough to bring your level of play up with your team and get them to where you want them to go.” Golden State Warriors Calvin Watkins"

I’m not entirely sure what the next few months will look like for the Houston Rockets, but I can safely assume that lots of changes will be made. Maybe, just maybe, the front office can do what it takes to get Harden excited enough about his team to actually ride the bus with the team.

ESPN sources say Harden, for example, frequently skips the team bus to road games, not just in this series as reported by our Calvin Watkins

— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) April 28, 2016

Send our Editor any Rockets-related article/video/tweet/gram/vine that we may have missed via Twitter direct message to @TTOTambz.

Next: The Effort of Houston Rockets' Patrick Beverley

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