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Rockets place fifth in David Aldridge’s offseason rankings

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 19: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers shake hands before the game on December 19, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 19: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets and Chris Paul #3 of the Los Angeles Clippers shake hands before the game on December 19, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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David Aldridge ranked the Rockets’ offseason as the fifth best in the NBA.

In David Aldridge’s annual offseason rankings, he measures the success of each team’s offseason, including the Rockets.

He takes into account a multitude of factors, including how a particular team drafted, who they signed in free agency, trades and coaching changes.

Aldridge analyzes a pool of data to answer one question: “is the team better now than at the end of last season?”

The list has nothing to do with which team will have the best or worse record, or who will win the championship in 2018. He is simply trying to figure out which teams made the biggest improvements in the offseason. The Cleveland Cavaliers finished at No. 28 on the list, but obviously they will be one of the best teams in the NBA next season.

Aldridge placed the Houston Rockets’ offseason at No. 5 on the list. The Golden State Warriors, who added Nick Young and Omri Casspi, finished first, followed by the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Skinny

David Aldridge gave a rundown on how the Rockets’ offseason additions will fit in what he calls “The Skinny.”

“Let’s be clear: no matter who handles the ball on a given play, Paul and James Harden are going to be terrific together. Great players almost always figure out how to play together, and especially ones that want to be together as CP3 and the Beard did. And if the Rockets figure out a way to get Carmelo Anthony, they’ll certainly be even more of a contender. Tucker and Mbah a Moute may be as irritating defensively combined as Beverley. They’ll have to be, because the starting backcourt is not going to be a shutdown backcourt, if you get my meaning. Harden, who got another $170 million on an extension that will take him through the 2023 season, is not paid to lock opponents up.”

Aldridge says that Chris Paul and James Harden will be terrific together, and I agree. At 32 years old, Paul’s championship window is closing, and he knows it. CP3 is willing to play second fiddle to Harden if thats what it takes to win. For Harden, Paul’s veteran leadership and commitment to defense will elevate his game to another level.

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Also, P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute will give Houston much-needed help on the defensive end of the floor. The Rockets finished 18th in defensive rating last year, but those offseason additions should push their defense into the top 10.

The Houston Rockets finished with the third best record in the NBA last season, and such a successful offseason is a sign of good things to come.

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