ESPN has ranked the Houston Rockets to finish as the eighth seed in the 2016-17 season
Apparently they see issues with the loss of Dwight Howard and wonder where the defense will come from. Specifically here’s what the panel says:
We know a bit about how Houston will play. The already 3-oriented offense should get a boost with new coach Mike D’Antoni arriving in town and the additions of Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, who both averaged 15 points and two 3-pointers per game last season in New Orleans. But the departure of Dwight Howard cost Houston a strong interior presence on defense. Our panel expects the Rockets to hover around .500 once again.
The full list and details of the article can be found in this link.
Here’s the full ranking and projected win totals:
- Golden State Warriors: 67-15 (-6)
- San Antonio Spurs: 57-25 (-10)
- Los Angeles Clippers: 52-30 (-1)
- Portland Trail Blazers: 46-36 (-2)
- Utah Jazz: 45-37 (+5)
- Oklahoma City Thunder: 44-38 (-11)
- Memphis Grizzlies: 43-39 (+1)
- Houston Rockets: 41-41 (same)
- Dallas Mavericks: 40-42 (-2)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: 39-43 (+10)
- New Orleans Pelicans: 35-47 (+5)
- Denver Nuggets: 34-48 (+1)
- Sacramento Kings: 30-52 (-3)
- Phoenix Suns: 26-56 (+3)
- Los Angeles Lakers: 25-57 (+8)
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Notably the panel project the Timberwolves to make the greatest jump. This choice isn’t much of a stretch given this team features 2 back to back Rookies of the Year in Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
Add in new defensive minded head coach Tom Thibodeau and another strong ROY candidate in Kris Dunn and a plethora of bench assets.
Personally, I’m predicted these same T-Wolves will finish even higher with an improved defensive presence and could crack the playoffs (I’m predicting they finish in the 6th to 9th position).
The other team I’m shocked the panel left off the playoff list is the Dallas Mavericks who I anticipate to return to the playoffs.
The teams I think the panel ranked too high are the Grizzlies and while I do think the Jazz will be in the mix a 5th rank feels like an over reach.
As for the Houston Rockets it’s hard to know prior to season start how much of an effect Jeff Bzdelik will have on the defense. H-Town should expect an advancement on the Rockets top 7 offense, but their rank defensively will be the ultimate determinant on how successful Houston can be.
SCS will update as free agency news develops. For now if you’re a fan who wants to follow free agency closely consider checking out my Free Agency Profiles for all 30 teams:
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