At a time where an eight-time All-Star is set to join a seven-time All-star in the backcourt for the Houston Rockets, now may be the best time to be a fan of the team since the Olajuwon days.
The pairing of James Harden and Russell Westbrook is a reunion that forms a backcourt for the Houston Rockets that is arguably the best in the league before they even set foot together on the hardwood. While already impressive in itself, the rest of the supporting cast includes the likes of Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, Thabo Sefolosha, Ben McLemore, Austin Rivers, Gerald Green and Tyson Chandler.
Let’s break down the capabilities of the supporting cast. Clint Capela, only 25-years-old, is one of the best young big men in the league. P.J. Tucker is the anchor of the defense and has the ability to guard all five positions. Eric Gordon, recently rewarded with a well-deserved new contract, is a deadly 3-point shooter and an underrated defender. Sefolosha, recently signed by the Rockets, is one of the better defenders in the league and provides excellent veteran leadership. Austin Rivers is as valuable a backup point guard as there is in the entire league. Finally, with all due respect to the legend that is Nene, Tyson Chandler is a drastic upgrade as the backup center for H-Town.
In order to build a roster that is able to contend for a championship, you have to have a stellar front office, a la San Antonio. How good is the Rockets’ front office? Well, based on what he’s pulled off so far, Daryl Morey is easily a top three general manager in the league. The ability for him to find diamonds in the rough is impeccable when you consider acquisitions such as Clint Capela, Danuel House Jr. and Gerald Green.
Furthermore, Morey also has the ability to bring in superstars that no other general manager has in the league. Daryl was the one who got James Harden for essentially nothing outside of the draft pick that led to Steven Adams. He was also the one who signed prized free agent Dwight Howard, although we don’t need to not talk about how that ended up. Morey was also able to trade for Hall of Famer point guard Chris Paul and then subsequently flip Chris Paul’s unbelievable contract for a superstar four years younger in Russell Westbrook.
Often times, NBA owners will sit quietly and monitor things from the outside, not being very involved with their team. This is certainly not the case for the Houston Rockets. The new owner, Tilman Fertitta, has made a splash in his short tenure with the organization. Some fans and members of the national media have their doubts about him as an owner, but there is little reason to have such doubts. Sure there are some concerns about his decision to let Daryl Morey run the basketball side of things, but a lot of those concerns have gone away with the additions of Chandler and Westbrook. There’s something special about Tilman’s fire and passion to win a third title for the city of Houston, and it appears he will stop at nothing to obtain that goal.
Going into 2019-20, the roster is as good as it has been in a long time. The owner and the general manager seem to be aligned on their expectations for this group, and Houston has the best offensive duo in the game.
While the glory days have long past, the setup for the next few seasons for the Rockets gives reason to believe there may be some more very soon.