The Houston Rockets were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league this season. Instead, they acquired Jeremy Lin by offering him a poison pill contract that the New York Knicks couldn’t match. But Lin wasn’t going to take the team to the playoffs by himself. That is when general manager Daryl Morey went out and swung a deal for James Harden.
This season, Harden has truly blossomed in his role as the main go-to guy for the Rockets. At 26 points per game, he ranks fifth in league in scoring. Led by Harden, Houston and its very young core of players will be back in the playoffs this season.
Most NBA fans who don’t necessarily support Houston can’t really deny that the Rockets are a fun team to watch. They are putting up 106 points per game this season, which has them tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the best offensive team in the NBA. However, it’s not only the team’s high-scoring offense that makes them entertaining — it’s also the fact that they can’t play defense. When a team ranks first in offense and in the bottom three defensively, you have a recipe for entertainment value.
Right now the Rockets are seventh in the Western Conference. They could still move a spot up or down, but it is hard seeing them beating any top team in a seven game series. While Harden has brought a lot of excitement and hope to the franchise, the best is yet to come for this young team.
Houston’s primary goal in this year’s playoffs is to gain experience. They have a very young core of players and even a brief taste of postseason action will do them a lot of good. The Rockets might not make a deep run this year, but they have tons of cap space this offseason. If Morey makes the right moves, Houston could be back in serious title contention within a year or two.
Vytis is a Miami Heat and NBA columnist for RantSports. You can follow him on Twitter: @VytisLasaitis