The Rockets are in good hands
Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni are legends in their own right and it’d be near impossible to fully replace them. Rafael Stone and Stephen Silas have large shoes to fill but they’re off to a good start and the franchise is in capable hands.
In terms of the roster, the Rockets lost Russell Westbrook, Clint Capela, Robert Covington, Jeff Green, and Austin Rivers and replaced them with John Wall, Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins. Wall should be able to replace enough of what Westbrook did and will have the benefit of allowing Harden to have the share of the offense he deserves.
The Rockets backcourt should be basically the same, in terms of production, as last season but the frontcourt is where the Rockets made serious gains. Wood can do everything that Capela, Green, and Covington did for the Rockets and Cousins is simply the cherry on top.
It seems odd, but the player the Rockets have done the least to replace is Austin Rivers but that comes with a caveat. Rivers’ importance was tied directly to Eric Gordon‘s precipitous decline.
If Gordon can come back healthy and productive in an offense that better suits his skills then losing Rivers will be moot. Finding a back-up combo guard has become relatively easy and a mid-season trade to address this issue, if it is even an issue, won’t be a problem.
The Rockets lost a few good players but brought in reinforcements that should raise their ceiling as well as their floor. The reality is, the Rockets will only go as far as James Harden can carry them, which is a great problem to have.
When it’s all said and done this offseason should be viewed as a major victory for the franchise. They didn’t sell low on either of their best players and brought in an in-their-prime center with real 3-point range in Christian Wood.
The DeMarcus Cousins experiment could blow up in their face but that will do little to alter their floor. The Rockets may need to make a mid-season trade to paper over some of the cracks to become a true contender but the roster they have set for the opening tip will have them in the mix all season long.