Rockets News

Is this season championship or bust for the Rockets?

By Tevin Williams
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: James Harden #13, Chris Paul #3 and Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets honor the National Anthem before the game against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2018 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 14: James Harden #13, Chris Paul #3 and Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets honor the National Anthem before the game against the Golden State Warriors in Game One of the Western Conference Finals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on May 14, 2018 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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This Houston Rockets team is constructed with one purpose in mind: to win a NBA championship. If they can’t pull it off, this current team could be broken up in the future.

In order to keep up in the NBA, you have to quickly let go of the past and focus on the next season, the next game and the next possession. Although, Houston’s exit from the playoffs last season still lingers in their minds. Eric Gordon told Fox 26 Houston’s Mark Berman that coming up short left a bad taste in their mouths.

“It just boiled down, really, to one game last season and left a bad taste in our mouths. We’re still hungry and angry from last year, but we’re going to continue to strive like we did last season. Try to be No. 1 seed; try to win a championship this coming-up year.”

Houston’s plan this season is largely the same as it was last season. Try to finish as a top 10 defense, or even preferably top 5. Prioritize 3-pointers, layups and free throws on offense and try to capture the No. 1 seed for home court advantage throughout the postseason.

If the Rockets can do all that, which they did last season, it’ll put them in the best possible position to capture that Larry O’Brien trophy they so desperately crave.

Everyone in this Rockets organization, from ownership down, is invested in this same mission. Houston’s biggest offseason addition, Carmelo Anthony, said that he’s willing to do ‘whatever’ it takes to help this team win a championship. On Media Day, Tilman Fertitta said that anything less than an appearance in the Western Conference Finals would be disappointing.

Head Coach Mike D’Antoni took it a step further, telling Mark Berman that his team expects nothing less than to win a championship.

“I don’t think we’d be satisfied with anything less than a championship…We still got a lot of work to do.”

As for P.J. Tucker? Well, he took it to another level, as he told Mark Berman that for Houston its either championship or bust.

PJ Tucker on the only goal that matters: "Always, that's it, championship or bust, always." #Rockets pic.twitter.com/VcDiGHxARZ

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 1, 2018

The Rockets have sky-high expectations for this season and they expect to compete in the Finals, even though the guys up in Oakland have one of the best teams ever constructed. The Warriors dominated in every series last postseason except for the Western Conference Finals. They got even better over the offseason, replacing Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee with DeMarcus Cousins, arguably the league’s best center when healthy.

The Warriors now have five players that made the All-Star team last season, and they still have Andre Iguodala, one of the league’s most versatile wing defenders coming off the bench.

Next. Rockets vs. Grizzlies preseason preview

Taking down the Warriors won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. The Rockets were just one game away back in May and they should have another shot at the Finals in May of 2019. Daryl Morey has said in the past that he makes Houston’s roster moves with Golden State in mind. If the Rockets don’t win it all this season or the next season, this current Rockets team could get broken up.

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