While a lot of the west has gotten significantly better, the Rockets haven’t made any noteworthy additions because they’re focusing on the wrong things.
The offseason is far from over and a lot can still happen, but the Houston Rockets have missed a lot of opportunities to improve their roster thus far. At the beginning of free agency, the Rockets were trying to put together a deal for Jimmy Butler. With no cap space and limited trade options, getting Butler to Houston would’ve involved at least a third team, which always complicates the process. Not to mention, Butler turned down millions of dollars from Philadelphia to play in Miami. He never really wanted to play for Houston in the first place.
Now, the Rockets are after Russell Westbrook, who like Butler, isn’t really a good fit for Houston’s offense. Both players need the ball to be effective and neither are great spot up or pull-up 3-point shooters, so it isn’t clear how well they would work in our offense.
With the Lakers adding Anthony Davis and the Clippers adding Paul George, the Rockets seem committed to complete a blockbuster deal of their own. It’s great to see the aggressiveness from the front office, but is this really necessary? Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala aren’t in Golden State anymore, so there are no super teams left in the league.
Yes, the Lakers and Clippers got significantly better by adding superstars, but both of those squads were fringe playoff teams last year. Whereas Houston was already one of the best teams in the west. Breaking up our core to add another superstar isn’t really necessary, and if we lose too much in such a deal, it could be counter productive.
Despite both of the Los Angeles teams making big splashes this summer, they’ve also filled out their rosters nicely. The Lakers have added DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green and Avery Bradley to their core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Clippers have added JaMychal Green and Maurice Harkless to their star duo of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
Meanwhile, the Rockets haven’t added anyone noteworthy. Sure, they re-signed Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr, who were both phenomenal in their first years as a Rocket, but Houston needs to bring back a better team than the one they had last year.
The Rockets should be focused less on the Jimmy Butler’s and Russell Westbrook’s of the world and put most of their focus on adding pieces like Andre Iguodala. It doesn’t always take a grand slam or a ton of home runs to win a baseball game. Sometimes a couple of triples, a few doubles and consistent base hits is all you really need.
Houston already has their core. They have a superstar and top five player in James Harden. They have a once-in-a-generation point guard in Chris Paul. Clint Capela is the big man in the middle and a double-double machine. Both Eric Gordon and P.J. Tucker are great two-way players that do many of the little things needed to win. Austin Rivers and Danuel House Jr. were great contributors off the bench last year.
Houston’s success next season won’t be predicated on a home-run deal for some superstar that doesn’t even fit the system. The Rockets’ success will be determined on the type of pieces they can add to compliment Harden and Paul and fill in the weak points on the roster. It’s time for the Rockets to change their focus and build a team that can make it out of what will be a loaded Western Conference next season.