On paper I’ve got to tell you the Houston Rockets look as good as any team in the NBA boasting James Harden,Eric Gordon,Christian Wood,Demarcus Cousins, and newly acquired all-star guard John Wall who will replace Russell Westbrook who was sent away to the Washington Wizards. Supposedly James Harden has been working with both Christian Wood and John Wall which has led to the Rockets bringing those guys over to help put complimentary pieces around their superstar. Harden has had rifts with Howard,Paul, and even though it never got out in the media there were rumors about Westbrook and Harden not being on the same page which was considered a likely scenario going into the 2019-2020 season last year. I know Demarcus Cousins will never be putting up 40 point 20 rebound games but the Kentucky connection with John Wall will certainly help in the chemistry department as Stephen Silas looks to run plays through the post this coming season.
I’m more sold on the Houston Rockets this coming season more than last season because I’ve never taken Mike D’Antoni serious as a head coach. He’s been fortunate to coach a point guard like Steve Nash who helped carry the Phoenix Suns for 5-6 seasons in the mid 2000’s and kept the Suns in the conversation for a championship withn that 4-5 year span. He never had much of a relationship with Carmelo Anthony in New York and he was the coach through “Linsanity” during Jeremy Lin’s magical run, I’ll give him credit for almost beating the Durant-Curry Warriors 2018 and having them on the brink of elimination but how do you allow your team to miss 27 consecutive 3’s and not make an adjustment? Mike D’Antoni coaching Westbrook and Harden was a disaster,he practically allowed them to go iso all game and have players line up at the 3 point line and chuck away. Mike is in a good place now as an assistant coach which is where I think he belongs at this point, he’s received enough coaching opportunities to prove himself as a all-time great coach and it’s time to put a fork in it.
To bet on the Houston Rockets to win the 2021 NBA Title would be one of hte most shocking events in recent time in the NBA, they have a new head coach in Stephen Silas who no one has a clue about,a point guard coming off injury in John Wall who’s shooting ability is still in question,and Demarcus Cousins who is coming off an Achilles injury and more than likely won’t be the high level scorer he once was in Sacramento. I think John Wall and James Harden as play-making guards running pick and rolls with Christian Wood and Demarcus Cousins will be tough to stop since both Wood and Cousins can shoot mid-range and 3 point jump=shots. I have questions about how James Harden will fit in within the Rockets offense as I am sure Stephen Silas will look to have James Harden play more off the ball and have him serve as a catch and shoot 3-point shooter as opposed to just shooting off the dribble constantly. Whenever James Harden is shooting off the dribble 3’s he is usually playing iso-ball which just plays into the opposing defenses’s hands and makes it easier for teams to trap Harden.
I felt like everytime I’d see James Harden get an assist it was a lob to Clint Capela half the time when they played together in Houston, Christian Wood will be able to serve as a that baseline cutter to the basket for alley-oop lay-ins and dunks off Harden passes this coming season and we can’t forget John Wall is one of the best passers in the game as well. The Rockets still have spot up shooters in PJ Tucker,Eric Gordon,Danuel House Jr, and Gerald Green who they just re-signed so they will still be able to play a 5 out offense if they desire this coming season. The Rockets will be able to play small-ball or they can go big with Demarcus at the 5 throughout games because let’s face it Cousins won’t be seeing 30 minutes a night consistently, I just don’t see that being possible at least not this season he is fresh off injury. I know most would choose either the Lakers,Nuggets,or Clippers to come out of the Western Conference this season but I think the Rockets have a chance at the Finals this season if health is on their side.
Sometimes you tinker and tinker and tinker some more till you finally get it right and maybe this could be the perfect storm for the Houston Rockets. At this point no one considers James Harden the best player in the world even if he believes that in his own head, I once agreed with him when he said it back in 2018 but with every loss in the playoffs you are no longer looked at a threat anymore. On the bright side the Houston Rockets have made the necessary changes, the problem last year was everyone knew MIke D’Antoni was not returning unless he won the title in the bubble and that failed to be hte outcome as the Lakers overwhelmed the Rockets on the boards and caught on to their predictable offense instantly. Stephen Silas has the right approach and understands that the playoffs are a different than a regular season game and that adjustments are vital to have a chance to win. With the personnel James Harden has around him this coming season, the Rockets are going to be a nightmare to guard.
To conclude I think the Rockets will be a top 4 seed in the West this coming season, this is assuming John Wall remains healthy for the most part and Christian Wood carries on the production he had in Detroit serving as a 20 ppg 10 rpg forward. If he lives up to being the second option he believes he can be alongside James Harden then the Rockets could be a threat to the Los Angeles Lakers. To say Christian Wood would be a better scoring option than John wall and Demarcus Cousins 3-4 years ago would’ve been comical but at this point it’s best John and Demarcus leave their egos at the door and look to do what is best to help the Rockets win a championship.Funny how I never mentioned Eric Gordon who gives the Rockets another go to scorer beyond Harden and Wood, come playoff time I would not want to see the Rockets in the first round with aspirations of winning a title. Wall,Harden,Gordon,and Cousins are all capable of big-time performances int he post-season, remember I warned you.