Former Houston Rockets sharpshooter and current analyst Matt Bullard believes the Rockets can win the championship in Orlando.
The 2019-20 NBA season was filled with ups and downs for the Houston Rockets. We saw the Rockets rip off several winning streaks followed by untimely losing streaks, such as the four-game skid they had prior to their final victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, which was the last game they played.
Heading into the league’s restart in Orlando, the Rockets currently hold the sixth seed, with a 40-24 record. But even that doesn’t accurately depict the level of success the team had this season, considering the obstacles they’ve faced.
For one, they traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, who on the surface didn’t seem to fit the Rockets’ style of play. On top of that, the Rockets’ brainpower made a schematic change mid-season, as they traded Clint Capela for Robert Covington, as they went all in on small ball.
It’s important to note the normal adjustment period following a trade for a player that’s inserted in the starting lineup, as Westbrook and Covington both were. It also can’t go understated how difficult it is to make a mid-season strategic move, as there’s no adjustment period since the games are already taking place.
The Rockets also faced a myriad of health issues, as P.J. Tucker was banged up for much of the season. But the Rockets will have had four months in between games when the league starts back up in Orlando, which will essentially be a new season.
This means the Rockets will be able to start fresh, which many believe will give them a chance to make a title run. On Sunday night, former Rockets sharpshooter and current team broadcaster Matt Bullard stated why he believes the Rockets could very well win the championship.
Bullard likes Houston Rockets’ title chances
Bullard was speaking with KPRC’s Vanessa Richardson on Sports Sunday and stated his reasoning.
“The Rockets are poised to be NBA champions. They went to the small ball lineup before everything got shut down, they had some good success with it.
Mike D’Antoni realizes that his vision of small ball can work. I know his players have all bought in, so I’m excited to see how they’re able to jump right back in to the small ball and if they can make this work against some of the other teams.
But I think the Rockets have a good chance of running towards the championship this year.”
During Bullard’s interview with Richardson, he emphasized the importance of the Rockets beating the Dallas Mavericks in their first game back, as a loss would drop the Rockets to just a half game over the Mavs. Bullard also cited the Rockets’ games against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers as good opportunities to show the rest of the league that they’re legitimate contenders.
The Rockets have alot working in their favor, as the break has given Eric Gordon a chance to get fully healthy, and we’ve all seen how much of a difference a healthy Gordon can make. They’ve also gotten a much slimmer version of James Harden, which should strike fear in opponents’ hearts, considering how he was already unstoppable before making the change.
There’s also the fact that Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni is coaching for a new deal, which gives him even more incentive to make the necessary lineup changes we haven’t always seen him make in the past.
All in all, Bullard is right, as the factors are in place for the Rockets to be a legitimate title contender in Orlando.