Rockets News

Here’s where the Rockets fit in the west after big free agent moves

By Tevin Williams
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets greets LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets greets LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit
3 of 4
Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks react to a play during the game against the Denver Nuggets
Kristaps Porzingis #6 and Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks react to a play during the game against the Denver Nuggets (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are in a good place to smoothly transition away from the Dirk Nowitzki era. They acquired Kristaps Porzingis last season, a 7-foot-3 forward with a smooth stroke from outside and great athleticism for a player his size. Not to mention, Luka Doncic looks like the type of player who will develop into a nightly triple-double threat. The Mavs are headed in the right direction.

New Orleans Pelicans

The Pelicans finally fulfilled Anthony Davis‘ wish and traded him to the Lakers last month, so now they can move on. They got a nice haul for Davis from the Lakers, getting players like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram. They also landed J.J. Redick in free agency, a sharpshooter who adds a veteran presence in the locker room. They still have Jrue Holiday, who is arguably the league’s most underrated player and that Zion Williamson guy will probably turn into a special player.

San Antonio Spurs

Any team with a few good players led by Gregg Popovich is going to find some kind of success. Led by DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, the Spurs won 48 games and nearly went to the second round last season. With Dejounte Murray back healthy, they’ll be good to go once again.

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder just lost a second superstar in the last four summers. Paul George requested to be dealt to the Clippers, and OKC obliged. The Thunder got mostly future assets in return, along with Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Russell Westbrook is the lone star once again, and while he may put up big numbers, the Thunder probably won’t make the postseason next year.

Denver Nuggets

Yes, I know, the Nuggets finished with 54 wins last season, nearly outpacing the Warriors. They even made it to the second-round of the postseason. But it took them seven games to eliminate a Spurs team that was without their starting point guard, and then they lost to a Blazers’ team without its starting center. Denver will win a lot of games in the regular season, but they won’t finish second in the west again in a conference this deep, which will take away their home-court advantage in the Mile High City. This is a first-round exit team next season.

Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers finished third in the west last year, winning 53 games. They had a great offseason, as they acquired Hassan Whiteside from Miami, giving them a double-double threat to back up Jusuf Nurkic, who was out during the team’s postseason run to the Western Conference Finals. Not to mention, they also re-signed Rodney Hood and added Kent Bazemore. I don’t think they have a legitimate shot at a championship which is why they aren’t in tier 1, but Portland is definitely a playoff lock for next season.

Next: Tier 1

facebooktwitterreddit