The Rockets and Nets will square off twice this season. How does the team matchup against Brooklyn this season?
Every team in the NBA has a mixture of tough games and games that should be automatic wins. However, in this league, nothing is automatic. That being said, the Houston Rockets will have one of those easier games when they face the Brooklyn Nets at the Toyota Center for the first time this season.
But just how do the teams stack up against each other? Let’s take a look.
Houston Rockets Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: James Harden
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Ryan Anderson
C: Clint Capela
Brooklyn Nets Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Allen Crabbe
SF: DeMarre Carroll
PF: Trevor Booker
While the Nets starting 5 has certainly improved, the Rockets still have a superior starting 5. Let’s begin with each teams backcourt.
Since the end of last season, both teams have added new faces to their rosters. However, the additions made by the Rockets are contender additions. As for the Nets, their key additions were geared more towards building a solid foundation to reach contender status. Someday.
As a result, the Rockets should dominate the backcourt matchup. With quite possibly the best two-way point guard in CP3, and the best pure scorer at shooting guard in James Harden, the Nets will look to just keep pace with this backcourt alone.
As for the Nets, Russell has star potential and his running mate, Allen Crabbe, is a good shooter. However, they won’t be making the all-star team unless they prove otherwise. In addition, Russell has to prove that he has indeed matured considered the storylines that unfolded in his Lakers tenure. At this point, the Nets must first overcome distractions in their backcourt before even thinking about taking on an All-Star backcourt.
Backcourt Advantage: Houston
While the frontcourt of the Rockets is good, the Nets have put together a decent frontcourt of their own this offseason. Offensively, the Nets may have just the slightest of advantages, especially at the center position. Because of Mozgov’s ability to shoot from at least 10 to 15 feet, he gains the advantage on offense. However, Clint is the better and younger defender. So defensive advantage goes to Clint because of his speed and athleticism.
At the small forward position, both teams seem evenly matched. Trevor Ariza and DeMarre Carroll are very similar. Both can defend well, shoot, and slash to the paint. At power forward, Ryan Anderson has the advantage against the smaller Trevor Booker. Despite his lack of rebounding, Anderson can shoot lights out and cause problems on the offensive end. Overall:
Frontcourt Advantage: Houston by a decent margin
Moving on to the benches:
Rockets projected bench:
Nets projected bench:
While the Nets have a decent bench unit, the Rockets have a clear advantage. One of the best ball handlers will be present at all times, the reigning sixth man is here, and a couple a solid offensive and defensive players for a toughness boost is enough to win this matchup.
With the additions of Mbah a Moute and Tucker, the Rockets will be pesky on the perimeter and in the paint defensively. Combined with the Nene’s inside defense and rebounding, the Rockets nearly have enough to have two separate starting lineups. Both new additions are decent 3 point shooters, making this a scary Rockets team.
While Brooklyn has some decent bench pieces, they will struggle against the more balanced Rockets bench. In addition, the Rockets will have a top 10 player and master ball handler at all times. Kenny Atkinson will have nightmares devising a strategy against the Rockets. Jeremy Lin is a good scorer, but he is no defensive maestro. Outside of him, the Nets will struggle to find offense while trying to hold up on defense.
Bench Advantage: Rockets
As for the coaching staff, the Rockets have offensive guru Mike D’Antoni paired with defensive-minded Jeff Bzdelik as his top assistant. Kenny Atkinson is a resilient and well-rounded coach but is limited with his team. While the coach D’Antoni prepares to make a run at a title, coach Atkinson will try to improve a team that has gifted other teams with high draft picks.
Season Series Prediction
The Rockets and Nets play twice this season. Once in Houston and the rematch in Brooklyn. It’s fair to say, barring a fluke performance from the Nets, that the Rockets should win both matches decisively. Perhaps one of the games will mildly close, but I would say expect blowouts in both contests.
The first game will be on November 27th at home, making for a crowd-pleasing victory early on in the season.