Houston Rockets: 5 things we learned from the preseason

Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /

1. The Rockets Death Lineup will be really deadly

Before the start of the preseason, we speculated about what Houston’s Death Lineup would look like. And coach Mike D’Antoni has given us an answer.

The Rockets have rolled out a lineup with Luc Mbah a Moute, P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza in the front court with some combination of Harden, Gordon and Paul in the backcourt. This small ball lineup gives Houston the luxury of having three forwards that can defend nearly every player on the court. This gives the Rockets a huge advantage defending the pick-and-roll and on fast break situations. The opposing team really has a hard time creating mismatches, namely because there aren’t any.

Houston can use this lineup when facing teams like Golden State and Cleveland, who will sometimes play Draymond Green and Kevin Love at center. Or, they can deploy this small ball lineup to speed up an opposing team that wants to play slow. Having the opposing center guard Mbah a Moute or Tucker on the perimeter either allows Houston to have open looks from 3-point range or it forces the other team’s coach to take him out of the game.

Next: Houston Rockets: Team cuts four players from the roster

The Houston Rockets did a great job of retooling their roster over the summer. Having this sort of versatility on a team gives the coaching staff all sorts of options. We’ll see if the Rockets go small in the season opener against the Warriors on Oct. 17.