While Austin Rivers’ claim about the Houston Rockets’ title chances was bold, NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen agrees with his main point.
Earlier this week, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers made a bold claim that his team is one of only three or four teams with a realistic chance of capturing an NBA title in 2020. Considering that there are currently 22 teams in the NBA bubble, narrowing it down to just three or four is a bold stance.
While some may take this statement lightly since Rivers is a rotational player, he will still have an important role in the team’s restart. When the statement was made, James Harden and Russell Westbrook had not reported to the bubble in Orlando yet. This is significant because, of course, Rivers plays behind these two former league MVPs.
In an appearance on The Jump, NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen was asked his opinion on the Houston Rockets being a legitimate title contender. “I have to agree with him,” started Pippen.
“I’d probably throw a few more teams in there because I feel like it’s gonna be a shootout. It’s gonna be about the team that can catch fire real quick and I like the chances that the Rockets could cause some problems.”
Ultimately, Pippen is in the right mindset about potential contenders. Pippen’s quote brings up a good point when you consider the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and Denver Nuggets were all performing at high levels before the NBA’s shutdown.
River’s words during media availability come across as someone determined and ready to step up as needed in the remaining eight games and playoff run. With Rivers, along with key role players like Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and Robert Covington, the foundation is laid down and ready to support the dynamic duo of Harden and Westbrook.
If his teammates all share Austin’s mindset (and it seems like they do), then it will be difficult to deny the Houston Rockets an NBA title this summer.