2. Which Houston Rockets do you close out games with?
The Rockets’ best five-man lineup this season is not their presumed starting lineup. The combination of Harden, House, Westbrook, McLemore, and Tucker has outscored opponents by 40.5 points per 100 possessions but has only played 46 minutes together on the court.
The lineup has been absolutely dominant by bombing threes and forcing turnovers but has been completely demolished by opponents on the boards. D’Antoni needs to know what lineup he can close out games with and would be wise to give this lineup some more time together.
No five-man lineup is truly 40.5 points better than their opponents, but the Rockets need to know if this is a flash in the pan or something with more substance.
3. What does Tyson Chandler have left?
The Rockets might not care for the traditional center but they’ll need one at some point. That one and only center is Tyson Chandler. D’Antoni needs to know what Chandler has left in the tank at this stage of his career.
If he can give you 10 or 15 minutes, that will create a massive ripple in the Rockets’ rotations. If the Rockets are going to get by a team like the Nuggets or Lakers, two teams with elite offensive big men, they’ll need Chandler to be able to come in and hold his own.
He doesn’t need to anchor a championship-caliber defense for an entire game, but knowing if he can come in and make life difficult for the behemoths of the Western Conference will give the Rockets an antidote to their one glaring weakness.
Next: Questions 4 & 5