Houston Rockets: Why running it back is the right move
The Houston Rockets motto for 2018-2019 was “ Run It Back “. This was in reference to being oh so close to moving onto the NBA Finals in the season before. Should the Rockets utilize this same motto for 2019-2020? They absolutely should.
Good afternoon, Houston Rockets fans! How is everyone? According to social media, half of the fan base is ready to tear down the entire franchise, and trade everyone. The other half, the much more reasonable half, is taking the “glass half full” approach to the current situation, and realizing that this roster is certainly good enough to compete for a championship next season.
Before I go any further, let me be 100% honest with you… I wanted the Rockets to add Jimmy Butler. I was willing to have the team trade whatever pieces needed in order to make it happen (i.e. Eric Gordon and Clint Capela). Per a tweet from Adrain Wojnarowski on June 26th, P.J. Tucker was available via trade. I will never doubt that Woj. Only reports the truth on things like this, but I will remain certain in my opinion that the Rockets would not move Tucker. He was/is way too important to the culture of this roster, and he would be someone that would be incredibly difficult to replace.
Reporting w/ @ZachLowe: Houston’s offering Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and PJ Tucker individually to teams w/ space to absorb salary. Rockets trying for best available first-rounder for any of those three, hoping to redirect pick to Philly in pursuit of Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 26, 2019
Once Jimmy Butler (for whatever reason) made up his mind to play for the Miami Heat, the best pathway to the upcoming season for the Rockets became clear… RUN IT BACK WITH THE SAME GUYS FROM LAST SEASON!! Before the fans who are resigned to the fact that James Harden is not “The Guy,“ Chris Paul is old, Coach D’ Antoni is not any good, etc., please let me explain my reasoning why getting the whole band back together for one more run at the title is the best idea.
Let’s go back to the beginning of the 2018-2019 season. The Rockets roster consisted of guys like Michael Carter Williams, Carmelo Anthony and James Ennis. The team started the season 11-14, they were playing horrific defense, and it appeared that the season was a lost cause. In true Daryl Morey sorcery, in comes Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr.
If you are a diehard Rockets fan, your hatred for Austin Rivers (previous to his stint with the Rockets) would be strong. He was a pest, and always seemed to be getting under the skin of one our guys. However, flip the script, and this guy has been nothing but outstanding as a Houston Rocket.
In Danuel House’s case, how good do you think he can be (with his new shiny contract), and a full year of not worrying about if he will be in the G-League or the NBA? For the Rockets to be able to sign not one but BOTH of these players to new contracts for next season, is truly a job well done by the front office.
As I look around the Western Conference, there are certainly teams that have gotten much better since the 2018-2019 campaign has ended (New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, and Portland Trail Blazers). However, there are certainly questions that both of those rosters have to answer within their personnel department. In this writer’s opinion, the Houston Rockets do not. I believe that they have one main question to answer: Do you start Danuel House Jr. or Eric Gordon at the shooting guard position? I believe that Eric Gordon is much better in a 6th man role, and alongside Chris Paul running the 2nd unit, that could be one of the best bench units in the league.
The Big 3
Let us not forget that this Houston Rockets team has a “Big Three“ of James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela. For everyone who wants to continue to dog James Harden in the playoffs, his numbers for the 2018-2019 playoffs were as follows: 38.5 minutes played, 36.1 points per game, 5 turnovers per game ( way too high ), 7.5 assists per game, and 6.6 rebounds per game. If that is considered him disappearing in the playoffs every year, sign me up.
Chris Paul, age 34, is not worth his GIGANTIC contract that he signed with the Rockets, but the Rockets did not have a choice in the matter. His ability to stay on the floor and manage the relationship between him and James will be vital to the success of the team for this season. Clint Capela is only 25 years old and has gotten better every year with the team. If he can find that next level of success, he can truly become an unstoppable force (on both ends of the floor).
The Golden State Warriors are ailing and only look to be a shell of themselves going into the 2019-2020 season. This team has been the obstacle to get over for the Houston Rockets to get over for the last 5 years, and they have not been able to get it done. Can this be the year? Can James Harden and Chris Paul captain this ship together? Will the supporting cast band together to support the superstars in the main goal of bringing a title to H-Town?
Those questions remain to be answered, but I for one, think this is the group of guys that has the best chance to get it done.
Now, and forever, GO ROCKETS!!! #RunItBack2020