I want to preface this article by pointing out to Houston sports fans just how awesome it is that we’re having this debate the past few days. Also, I am in no way criticizing the direction of the Houston Texans organization with the above declared statement. I’m simply saying if I was a betting man and had to put some money down, well I’m betting on red and the Houston Rockets in regards to which team is closer to a championship.
Since word came out that Dwight Howard would be coming to Houston, the whole city has been buzzing. In fact, so much so that the casual sports fan has put the Texans on the back burner. This is easy to do when it is the offseason and in the lull right before training camp kicks in. But the question has been presented this past week about which team is closer to a title and the replies seem to be divided. For most, they’re just picking which sport they like more. But for those who really follow both teams, it’s a tougher question to answer.
Why I am leaning the Rockets direction is for a number of reasons. First, when you have two top-10 players in the NBA on your roster, your chances in a seven-game series in the postseason go up quite dramatically. More than in any other of the big three professional sports, one guy can make such a huge difference. Whereas, football is more of a team sport and can overcome the loss of one guy, as long as the quarterback doesn’t go down.
The Texans have a lot more questions headed into the 2013 season than the Rockets do. There are concerns about players coming back from serious injury, if some of the veterans are going to be able to go by week one and if their starting quarterback ended last season on a bad stretch or has begun his decline. The biggest question for the Rockets is how can they upgrade the power forward position. To be fair, the “how will they gel” question has come up and that’s a legit concern that remains to be answered.
While the Rockets have chosen to get younger, as Francisco Garcia is their only player over the age of thirty, the Texans chose to let a young guy go and bring in the aging Ed Reed to replace him. Coincidentally, there are concerns about how much he’ll be able to play in 2013.
Matt Schaub showed plenty of red flags in his ability to lead the team anywhere past wild card weekend. The captain of their defense, Brian Cushing, is a big question mark headed into camp.
Rick Smith has made almost as many questionable free agency moves as he has good ones. The head coach is still Gary Kubiak, too.
Then you have the Rockets, who have one of the most popular general manager’s in the sport. Daryl Morey blew the team up just over one year ago and now has arguably two of the best players at their position in the sport with Howard and James Harden, as well as a strong supporting cast.
I wouldn’t say Leslie Alexander is a better owner than Bob McNair, as they both want desperately to win and will open the checkbook to do so.
I’ll give the nod to the Rockets on head coaching, though. I’ve gone on record as not being the biggest Kevin McHale supporter, but I have next to zero faith in Kubiak. He’s a wonderful human being, for sure. I just don’t and never have bought into him as a leader of men.
In the end, I would place my bet on the younger team with a shrewd general manager that has consistently shown the ability to round out the roster with great role players at affordable pay. I know it sounds like I’m down on the Texans, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They could make a run at the Lombardi this season and I wouldn’t be floored. I just feel like their window is quickly closing while the Rockets just opened theirs.
Again, can I just say how awesome it is that we’re having this discussion? Not who is the best team in Houston, but which Houston team has the best shot at a championship in the very near future?
Exciting times, for sure.