When the Houston Rockets landed Dwight Howard last summer and paired him with James Harden, much anticipation about the team was created. Everyone talked about a new powerhouse emerging in the West. But the Rockets are now weaker than they were last season.
Most people around the league expected the Rockets to become the new big thing in the NBA, as they were building around the trio of Howard, Harden and Chandler Parsons.
Now, after Parsons’s removal, the Rockets will enter the 2014 – 2015 campaign with significantly less chances to do well as last season. In fact, Houston looks weaker than a year before, after allowing Chandler Parsons to walk towards Dallas. That’s because there will be no third star in their roster, a player who can take over during some stretches of the game and be significantly productive.
Of course, Daryl Morey decided to bring in Trevor Ariza, after Parsons was “stolen” by Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks, but it’s obvious that Ariza doesn’t possess the quality of Parsons. And he will most probably not be as productive as the 25 – year old emerging star.
The Rockets tried to make a blockbuster signing this summer, but they failed. Their intention to land a third superstar was obvious. At first, they went after Carmelo Anthony and then they turned their attention towards Chris Bosh. Although they stood really good chances to ink either superstar, they eventually failed to do so. And now they will have to move forward using the powers they have.
On top of the superstars the Houston Rockets didn’t manage to land, they also lost some of their significant members from last season. In an effort to clear some cap space and get rid of some big fat salaries, the Rockets sent away Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin for almost zero exchanges. Those two players were not the main contributors of the team last season, but they did add to Houston’s total firepower. In addition, the Rockets received almost zero value in exchange for them being sent away. Houston gambled and it lost the bet in the case of Lin and Asik.
It will be possible for the Houston Rockets to make it to the forefront of the Western Conference next season, despite their weaknesses, but it will be difficult. The duo of Howard and Harden did show some very promising signs in the first season together. But it will require lots of improvements in various sectors of the game for Houston to become an appreciable powerhouse in the West.
The youngsters and the players who didn’t contribute that much last season will have to take a bigger role in 2014 – 2015 for Houston to be successful. Donatas Motiejunas, Patrick Beverly, Isaiah Canaan and the rest of the new faces will have to step up for the Rockets. It remains to be seen if Kevin McHale can rely on them next season and if the Rockets manage to correct all those issues they had in 2013 – 2014.