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Daily Rocket Science: Final Preparations

Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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The season opener is just days away, and the Houston Rockets have some final preparations to make before it begins.

For players on the fringe of making the roster, preseason can be a daunting time. Several Houston Rockets hopefuls got their chance to showcase their talent over the past couple of weeks, each vying for a spot in the rotation come regular season.

The first player to be waived this year was point guard Isaiah Taylor, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen. There are still six players on the roster listed at point guard if you include James Harden, which means there are sure to be more cuts from that position.

If Beverley and Prigioni return by the start of the regular season, that would give D’Antoni a longer rotation than he prefers.

“We’ll probably settle on a nine-, max 10-man rotation,” D’Antoni said. “There’s a couple guys that are battling. We don’t have Pat out there. Prigioni’s not out there. There’s a couple guys battling for the ninth, 10th spots.”

One player who’s succeeded in impressing the coaching staff during the preseason is rookie Chinanu Onuaku, writes The Score’s Victoria Nguyen. The former Louisville star proved how coachable he is by shooting his free throws underhanded. There’s almost always a roster spot for a player who’s willing to lose his ego in order to be effective.

He contends that the reason shooting free throws “granny style” isn’t more common is because everyone else is too worried about what other people think.

“When I went to Greece I had a bunch of buzz about it,” he told Calvin Watkins of ESPN. “Then I knew I’d get some buzz about it (in China) because everybody has been talking about it lately. Nobody has been man enough to do it.”

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On another note, Hoops Habit’s Aaron Mah believes James Harden has a stellar season in store. The combination of a frustrating campaign last year and a lack of credit given him despite his historic efforts makes for great motivation. If the Rockets win a respectable amount of games, look for the Beard to be in MVP discussions.

In fact, [Harden] was one of only eight players to average over 4.5 turnover per game in the modern NBA; but, you know who else did? Allen Iverson in 2004-05, a season in which he averaged an eerily similar statline of 30.7 points, 7.9 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. His Philadelphia 76ers, like the Houston Rockets last season, also squeaked into playoffs and were ousted in the first round.

For his efforts, though? The Answer was awarded First Team All-NBA. For Harden? Nada.

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Regardless of what happens with Harden’s recognition or the final roster changes, the Rockets are set to be one of the more interesting teams in the NBA this season. They’ll light up the scoreboard nearly every night, and Harden could realistically put up some of the best individual numbers in history.

Next: 2016-2017 Player Profile: Corey Brewer

Make sure to keep up with Space City Scoop as the season draws nearer and nearer. The Rockets open up against the Los Angeles Lakers in just nine days!

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