1. The Houston Rockets won't have any toxicity
As if the on-the-court results of last season were not bad enough, Houston fans were also subjected to off-court drama and negativity. The fanbase can be a fickle one as it is, but when the franchise player of nearly a decade begins handling his own trade request with a less-than-professional demeanor, things can get ugly quickly, and get ugly they did.
It is a tough experience for fans when their best player requests a trade, no matter how justified it may be. How the player goes about doing so will always leave an impression on those fans going forward, and unfortunately James Harden chose a route of departure that rubbed many Rockets fans the wrong way. Lackadaisical play, some awkward interviews and comments, and off-court choices made for a bitter end to his Houston tenure.
This is not even to mention the Russell Westbrook trade request that came prior or the request from P.J. Tucker that came after. These requests and the numerous stories that circulated as a consequence really cast a black cloud over Houston basketball for a season that went as poorly as it did. Luckily, these events will not repeat themselves this upcoming season.
Contrary to the tone of last season, there is a lot of enthusiasm and optimism going into this one, and not just from the fans, but from the players as well. Such can be expected from a team with so many young athletes getting their first opportunity to play professionally, but the aura surrounding this group of players is totally different than that of last year.
John Wall summed it up last season when he spoke of certain guys not wanting to be there in the organization. There is none of that to be had this season, even from Wall himself who has literally agreed with the team to be traded.
Wall has handled his time as a Rocket with the upmost class, and even though he will not be playing for the team, this is to the benefit of the Rockets with all of the young talent they have to develop. Though Wall is certainly not a bad player by any stretch (in fact he is quite a good player), he does not have an appropriate role with a team whose focus is on their young future.
Wall will still be present for training camp and will still be attending games. so his leadership role with the team as a veteran and former All-Star will remain in Houston. This is a far smoother and more agreeable trade request than has been made by other players of recent time.
This group of athletes want to be here in Houston and want to compete with everything they've got for the fans. Even aside from that form of motivation, these players will be looking to show the entire league what they can do, not just the Rockets, as they will likely be pursuing contracts with numerous organizations throughout their careers.
Fans who have been watching for years or even decades already recognize everything here as a reason to watch this team. Even without a good reason to watch, the die-hards of H-Town will ride with their squad no matter the circumstances.
For the fan who only occasionally tunes into games, moderately keeps up with team activities, and invests mostly in the playoffs, it might not be clear why they should bother watching after last season. As it turns out, there is quite a bit to be excited about as it pertains to Houston Rockets basketball.
With world and national events being what they have for the first two years of the 2020s, it might be helpful to find yourself engaged in something fun every other night for a few months. If you are considering becoming a Rockets fan but are unsure due to what you may have seen on social media or in Rockets news over the past few seasons, take this as an assurance that there are plenty of reasons to give this current era of Houston basketball a chance.