The Rockets just missed out on the post-season, finishing ninth in the very competitive West. Houston excelled on their homecourt, earning 22 of their 34 victories in Houston, posting a 22-11 mark there.
For as good as they were at home, the Rockets were equally bad on the road, going 11-22, as they missed out on the playoffs by two games.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was hoping to turn the team's veteran assets into on the superstars available on the free agent market. When that plan failed, Morey used his assets to acquired three first round draft picks and began a true rebuild in Houston.
The New Guy - The Rockets swung a huge deal with the Thunder just days before the regular season began bringning in James Harden. The Rockets gave up alot (Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and three picks) to get Harden but they are banking he can become a true franchise player. The NBA's reigning sixth-man of the year, Harden averaged 16.8 points, 3.7 assists, 4.1 boards and 1.8 three-pointers last season for the Thunder. And that was as Oklahoma City's third option. Now he will be the focal point of the Rockets' offence and Houston hopes he can take his game to the next level.
Linsanity in Texas
After emerging as a global star with the Knicks last year Jeremy Lin signed with the Rockets this off-season.
Odds In Their Favour - Houston brought in a potential superstar in Harden and will hope that they can develop another star within their franchise. They have filled their roster with a plethora of young talent from Harden yo Jeremy Lin, to Omer Asik, to Royce White. They are playing the odds that a few of these players will emerge, and if they don't Houston will have a chance to find a star in the draft with a high pick.
No Centre Of Attention - Asik looks like the only centre in the Rockets lineup and that will put a lot of pressure on the young big man. Asik can handle himself on the defensive end, but he has a tendency to get in foul trouble and that could leave the Rockets in a tough position in most games.
Weak Defensive Presence - Teams that are strong up front will be able to get the best of the Rockets on most nights. The other issue will be in the backcourt, where Houston has a variety of scorers and playmakers, but little in the way of defensive stoppers. Hard work can make up for some of the defensive miscues, however there is a strong chance the Rockets will need to outscore most opponents this season.
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Missed out on Dwight Howard then had to pick up the pieces.
Kevin Martin will give you points and knock down threes at 39th overall.
X Factor: Jeremy Lin
Lin exploded on the scene in New York and the Rockets were able to steal him away in the off-season. Having Lin helped quiet some of the critics, who pointed out Houston's inability to acquire a superstar, but that will put a lot of pressure on the young point to produce this season. Lin is a strong passer, who can be a leader on the court for this young team. There is however a risk that Lin was a one-month wonder and that he will fail to meet expectations in Houston.
What to Expect
The Rockets have finally accepted that they are in rebuilding mode and fans can now try to get excited about their young players development as opposed to falsely dreaming for a spot in the playoffs. And the team has brought in some good young talent that could pay off down the road. The sad part for Houston fans right now, is that they may need to bottom out before they can truly contend again and that may be where they are headed this season. A really bad year in Houston may be the best thing for the future of the franchise, to ensure them a high pick and another young star.
Tim Chisholm's Offseason Grade
A wrecking ball couldn't have done a more thorough job than Daryl Morey did in Houston this summer.
Nearly the entire roster was turned over, and for the most part it was turned over to young, unproven talent that Houston hopes to either turn into stars or package up in a trade for stars.
It's a risky gamble, but one that the club felt they had to make after three seasons spent outside of the Playoffs despite records over .500.
Still, with lots of young players with indeterminate upside replacing a productive veteran crew, Houston is going to see a pretty significant drop-off in wins, although they may pick up some national exposure with Jeremy Lin now running their point guard position.