The Rockets are an organization surrounded by unknowns. With a high ceiling and low floor, there are plenty of questions that have yet to be answered.
Some teams are widely assumed to be good: the Golden State Warriors, for instance. It’s yet to be determined how well Kevin Durant will fit in, but nobody is thinking they won’t be successful. Other teams are assumed to be bad: the Brooklyn Nets. It’s never a good sign for a team’s most notable offseason acquisition is Jeremy Lin.
The opinion is split on how the Houston Rockets will perform this season, though. Some claim the offense will be unstoppable and the defense will be respectable enough for a deep playoff run. Others say the players won’t buy into Mike D’Antoni‘s offense and that the defense will be as bad as last year’s.
Today’s Daily Rocket Science will take a look at a few of the questions that fans and pundits are asking about the Rockets before the season starts next month.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
Dave Leonardis of Today’s Fastbreak wrote a piece addressing Houston’s biggest questions about the upcoming season, most of which having to do with defense.
"Bzdelik will have his work cut out for him with this roster, but the defense has the potential to be salvageable. Harden proved capable of playing modest defense two years ago, and teammate Corey Brewer vows “The Beard” will return to form this season. If Gordon and Anderson can alleviate some of the scoring burden off Harden’s shoulders, that will free him up to exhaust more energy on D. Meanwhile, Beverley, Ariza, Capela, Brewer and youngster K.J. McDaniels have the chops to give Houston the balance it once had."
Eric Spyropoulos of The Dream Shake asked a question that many Rockets fans have been asking for quite some time: Why do people hate James Harden so much? He argues that The Beard is the most underappreciated player in the NBA, and backs up his thoughts with facts.
"However, as I just pointed out, the Rockets have almost matched their playoff win total from 2000-2012 during Harden’s four year tenure with the Rockets. Just to put that in perspective, there are 14 NBA teams that haven’t won a playoff series in 4+ years. Also, James Harden has led the Rockets to almost as many playoff wins (14) in his four years in Houston as the Pelicans (15) and Timberwolves (17) have as franchises!"
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I mentioned earlier that many pundits and fans don’t expect the Rockets to be all that successful this season, but Matthew Hallett of Hoops Habit took it a step further. He wondered if Houston’s strategy this season will be to tank and try to get a few good draft picks for next season. That sounds far fetched to me, but I suppose we won’t know for sure until the season begins.
Will Daryl Morey start pulling a Sam Hinkie? Will Houston try to do a mini-process? James Harden is locked into a massive contract for the next three years with the fourth as a player option. “In Harden we trust” seems to be the front office motto. There is even a 15 percent trade kicker in the contract, so Harden appears set to stay.
I expect that we will see the true Houston Rockets for a month, maybe two next season. Then I would expect the Rockets to play some of their youngsters and see who plays best with Harden. Their main objective will be to try and secure the best position available to them in the draft.
Being shrouded with so much uncertainty, it’s folly to try and predict what the Rockets’ season will look like this year. Best case scenario, Harden and company buy in to the new offensive scheme and put forth a renewed effort on the other end of the court.
Stay tuned to Space City Scoop as some of these questions get answered as the season gets closer and closer.