The Houston Rockets made up for a bad offseason last summer by making some great midseason additions. One of those additions should be back next year.
The Houston Rockets kind of struck out a bit in free agency last season, sticking with the main core while seeing the likes of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute leave to other teams. Instead, they downgraded, picking up James Ennis and hoping that Carmelo Anthony can find his former level of play.
Those moves didn’t work out, obviously, with both of those guys finishing the season away from Houston (and the NBA for Melo). The Rockets started out the season slow, lumbering to an 11-14 start before James Harden went bananas, carrying the team back to relevancy in the loaded Western Conference.
Credit Daryl Morey and Co., though, because they made additions in the middle of the year that helped save the year for the team. One of those moves was for the then-hated Austin Rivers, a guy that was sort of a rival for the Rockets. His addition was weird at first, but his style and level of play turned out to be perfect for the team and into the playoffs, despite the disappointing end of the year for the team.
That’s why the Rockets should bring him back next season.
Another Rivers trip
The addition of Austin Rivers gave the Rockets one of the best four-guard rotations in the league with Chris Paul, the Beard and Eric Gordon (despite him starting this season). Off the bench, Rivers brought energy and driving ability to the team. He could create his own shot, something rare for a bench player.
In the postseason, Rivers was fantastic. He shot lights out from deep, something that isn’t really his expertise. He shot 45.7% from 3 and had many big games in the playoffs.
You really aren’t going to find a better backup point guard in free agency than Austin Rivers. He is still young, just 26, and can take some of the scoring load off of CP3 as he continues to age. That will leave Paul to distribute the ball and play defense. Speaking of defense, Rivers is fantastic on that end of the court, as well.
Tilman Fertitta has given the go for the Rockets to spend into the luxury tax this summer. Keeping Rivers on the MLE would be a nice re-signing for the team so that they can continue to add to the team and improve for next season.