With the NBA off-season largely over, the Rockets had a pretty good one. But did they get better over the course of the off-season? Here’s what I think!
The Rockets had quite the off-season, and we know Daryl Morey isn’t done adding pieces to help the Rockets get better. They were able to retain Austin Rivers and Danuel House, who both were great mid-season additions. This shouldn’t be glossed over, as they both were thrown in the fire and played well. The Rockets had a barrage of injuries and were forced to assimilate both players quickly. Considering how well they were able to fit in with no time, they would certainly stand to benefit from having a full off-season to be around the coaching staff and the team.
They also got better at the reserve big man spot, replacing Nene with Tyson Chandler. Chandler brings rebounding and defense at a much greater level in comparison to what the Rockets were going to get from Nene. This is also significantly different off-season than one year ago when the Rockets were trying to replace a valuable starter in Trevor Ariza and were searching for answers. Despite rampant rumors of the Rockets shopping Eric Gordon, Clint Capela and PJ Tucker, the Rockets kept each of them which will give them even more chemistry going into the season. Granted, the Western Conference has certainly gotten tougher, but most of those teams that added significant pieces don’t have chemistry and will have to learn and adapt on the fly.
The Rockets certainly made their splash move of the off-season by adding superstar and former MVP Russell Westbrook in exchange for Chris Paul, who was an aging star. The Rockets will certainly get more out of Westbrook than they were going to get out of CP3, as Westbrook is in his prime still and can contribute in more ways than CP3 can at this point in his career. And Westbrook also has successfully played with Harden before in Oklahoma City as well so there shouldn’t be much of a chemistry concern either. .
Granted, the Rockets aren’t done making moves but this is the one off-season where the Rockets didn’t lose any significant pieces without replacing them. Even if you go back to the off-season 2 years ago in 2017, the Rockets lost Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley, and Lou Williams in the CP3 trade. Not to question the package sent in the trade, I’m just illustrating the point that this is the first off-season where the Rockets didn’t lose valuable assets without being able to replace them.
For this reason, I believe the Rockets got better in the off-season. They still upgraded their stars without ceding valuable depth and losing valuable contributors.