We’re close enough to the season to start counting down the days rather than the weeks or months. The Rockets are ready to turn over a new leaf.
The Houston Rockets had a frustratingly mediocre season last year. They struggled throughout the campaign and eventually limped their way to an 8th seed playoff berth. Now, with a new head coach and a myriad of new signees, James Harden and company plan to return to the level of play that was accomplished in 2014-2015.
Media Day is always filled with over-the-top optimism about the upcoming season. However, the Rockets seem genuinely excited to play basketball with each other–something we didn’t see last year.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
James Herbert of CBS Sports wrote on how this season feels completely different to several of Houston’s key players.
"“I think just last season was frustrating for everybody because we just couldn’t figure it out together,” Ariza said. “I don’t even know how to explain. It was just a weird, weird, weird year…The vibe has just been totally different. Everybody is excited to show what they’ve worked on and excited just to be around each other.”"
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Though the roster won’t be finalized for a while, Kelly Scaletta of Bleacher Report put together a ranking of all of Houston’s players for this season. Though the number one spot isn’t a surprise, there are a few interesting placements.
Ryan Anderson was the Houston Rockets’ big offseason acquisition, and if you’re only looking at offense, it’s an amazing one.
Anderson has 980 career threes. According to Basketball-Reference.com, only five other players 6’10” and taller have done that. Of those, only Dirk Nowitzki, Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis have a better three-point percentage than Anderson’s 37.7.
In other news, Rockets legend Yao Ming is set to have his jersey retired during a February game this season. It’s been a busy summer for Yao, considering he was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame just weeks ago.
The Houston Rockets probably won’t win a title this year, but I predict that they will be significantly better than they were last year. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to expect at least 50 wins.
No matter how good they end up being, with D’Antoni’s offense and Harden’s scoring, they’ll be an exciting team to watch.