The Houston Rockets have propelled themselves to at least being in the conversation at the top of the NBA’s Western Conference. Of course, the main reason for their rise to power over this summer is the fact that they have signed Dwight Howard, a perennial All-Star and arguably the best center in the entire league.
However, it’s hard to pencil in the Rockets as the favorites in the West for several reasons. The first reason that it’s difficult to see Houston coming out of the conference is the simple fact that they are unproven. Even with Dwight, this is still an incredibly young team and a team that was only an eight-seed last year. The biggest reason they may struggle, though, is their lack of solid depth on the wings.
Houston definitely isn’t deficient in bodies at the shooting guard and small forward positions, but they are a bit short in terms of talent. After their starters, James Harden and Chandler Parsons, the Rockets have Omri Casspi, Robert Covington, Reggie Williams, B.J. Young and Francisco Garcia on their bench at the wing positions. Though none of those five players inspire a ton of confidence, it seems like a lot of the weight is going to fall on the shoulders of Garcia.
Last season with the Rockets, Garcia played in 58 games and was less-than-stellar. He averaged only 5.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 17.7 minutes per game while shooting only 39.3 percent from the floor and 37.4 percent from three-point range. Garcia had a real trouble with consistency last season and wasn’t as productive as the Rockets would have liked him to be.
However, Garcia was a key asset for Houston in the postseason. In six playoffs game he averaged 10.7 points, 1.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game while improving his shooting percentages to 44 percent from the field and a fantastic 45.9 percent from three.
Garcia’s success in the playoffs probably isn’t something to expect from him over an entire season because that’s a pretty unsustainable level of production for a player in his role. However, if Garcia can land somewhere in the middle around eight points per game on around 42-43 percent shooting and 39 percent three-point shooting, he will be a huge weapon off of the bench for Houston.
The Rockets really need Garcia to come out this year and be a consistent role player. Though th team is loaded with star power and game-changing players, they are somewhat lacking in terms of role players. If Garcia can help change that, though, Houston could indeed wind up near the top of the West.