The Rockets enter the 2017/18 campaign with last season’s Most Valuable Player runner-up in James Harden and offseason acquisition Chris Paul, widely viewed as one of the greatest point guards ever. A deal for Carmelo Anthony has not materialized but Houston is still an improved team, David Aldridge of NBA.com writes.
Aside from the acquisition of Paul, the Rockets have been in headlines all offseason. Tilman Fertitta purchased the Rockets for $2.2 billion, Hurricane Harvey hit the city of Houston hard, and even to this point, Anthony to Houston rumors persist. Nonetheless, head coach Mike D’Antoni believes his team is in prime position for success.
“The biggest advantage is for 48 minutes we have a Hall of Fame point guard (either Harden or Paul) on the floor. That’s huge,” D’Antoni said. “And both of them can play off the ball real well, they’re both great shooters, and both can exploit the defense when the ball is kicked … whoever initiates it would normally finish it, but if they have to kick the ball over to the other guy, they’ll finish it.”
Aldridge also breaks down the team chemistry heading into the season and expectations for a team that won 55 games last season.
Below you can read additional notes around the Southwest Division:
- While Paul grabbed all the headlines, fellow Rockets acquisition Shawn Long is looking to build on a solid rookie season, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype writes. Long, who averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG in 18 games for the Sixers, could utilize his size and versatility to the Rockets’ benefit.
- E’Twaun Moore, who has experience playing a plethora of positions, could be a crucial part of the Pelicans‘ roster this season, NBA.com’s Jim Eichenhofer writes.
- Dante Cunningham, who re-signed with the Pelicans on Tuesday, had offers from four teams but chose New Orleans due to comfort with his teammates, per Scott Kushner of The Advocate (Twitter link).
- NBA.com has published offseason recaps for both the Rockets and Spurs.