Record: 55-27 (3rd in the West)
Season Ended: Lost to the Spurs in 6 in the 2nd Round
Zhou Qi (C), PJ Tucker (SF/PF)
Chris Paul (PG)
Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, Montrez Harrell, Sam Dekker
Projected Starters (Last year averages)
PG: Chris Paul (18 pts, 5 reb, 9 ast)
SG: James Harden (29 pts, 8 reb, 11 ast)
SF: Trevor Ariza (12 pts, 6 reb, 2 ast)
PF: Ryan Anderson (14 pts, 5 reb, 1 ast)
C: Clint Capela (13 pts, 8 reb, 1 blk)
Eric Gordon (SG), PJ Tucker (SF/PF), Nene (C)
Major Story lines
Chris Paul Trade – This offseason the Rockets were looking to make a huge splash. They seemingly got CP3 to come over rather easily before trying to land Paul George or Carmelo Anthony. Sadly, nobody wanted to take on Ryan Anderson’s contract so CP3 ended up being the only major move made. With that said the Rockets now have a powerful backcourt and it will be interesting to see how they mesh.
Mike Predictions (56 – 26) (4th in the West)
- Rockets disappoint again – As you see I have them finishing 4th in the West. I don’t have a lot of faith in the CP3 – Harden flopathon that will be happening in Houston. beyond those two when I look at the bench they really don’t have any depth. Obviously they’ll have success but I don’t think the move to acquire CP3 is going to pay the dividends they were likely expecting.
- CP3 averages a career high in assists – Though Harden and CP3 will both want to dominate the ball I believe those duties fall into the hands of Paul more often. His career high in assists was 11.6 back in the New Orleans days and in the Rockets up-tempo offense I think he breaks 12 pretty easily.
Josh Predictions (61-21) (2nd in the West)
- Houston will have the 2 league leaders in assists – Last year, James Harden led the league in assists (11.2). And they weren’t bogus, end of game, don’t-really-help-the-team-play-better assists. In the several games I watched, Harden actually made the guys around him better. Now add in Chris Paul, who was 4th in assists last year (9.2) and give him all those same shooters that Harden had. Houston is going to take a ton of 3’s and I think Harden and Paul both benefit greatly.
- Houston moves up to the top half of the league in defensive rating – Last year, Houston was in the bottom half of the league in defensive rating and they allowed 109.6 points per game (5th worst). This year, they’ve added stoppers like Paul, PJ Tucker, and Luc Mbah A Moute to round out the defensive effort. I also think James Harden will step up his defensive effort in order to prove his doubters wrong (like former coach Kevin McHale who say he isn’t a leader) and boost his chances of winning that MVP award that he arguably deserved last year.