The 2019 Houston Rockets are the team that everyone thinks is going to take a step back. This team won 65 games last year, but this year’s win total is set at just 55.5 wins. That’s quite the downgrade for a team that everyone agrees is still a contender in the Western Conference. Last year was a year that everyone really went right for them, but they lost some key pieces and this line feels fair.
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That said, the offense should still be amazing. James Harden won the MVP last season and is seemingly the forgotten man in the 2019 MVP race. He’s probably the hardest player to guard in this league and will fill the stat sheet every night while making everyone around him look great.
He’ll once again team with Chris Paul and that has to be considered a rousing success. His injury issues are always a major worry, but playing with Harden allows him a lighter load to stay healthy. There are no weak minutes when playing this team as one of the two should always be on the floor. A healthy Brandon Knight could really help if he does have any injury issues, but that is not a given either.
Honestly, my main worry about this team is just the role players. The Thunder look better this season just by getting rid of Carmelo Anthony and he’s expected to be a contributor here, Michael Carter-Williams can’t shoot, Brandon Knight can’t stay healthy and James Ennis has played on four teams in four seasons. PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon are solid, but the rest give me some worry. This team will look a lot different than last year as they simply don’t have the shooters to bomb threes like they did last season.
The thing about the Rockets though is they probably aren’t done building this roster. Jimmy Butler remains an option and that would change everything for this team. Heck, we could see Ariza getting a buyout this year and heading right back. The team we analyze now is not the team that will be in the playoffs, that’s for sure.
I am a bit down on this team for the regular season as I don’t think they’ll match last year’s win total. That said, I don’t think they will be ten wins worse and this feels like a great place to bet the over. They have a great coach in Mike D’Antoni, a great system and one of the most dominant offense players in the game. They’ll figure it out and be a contender for the top seed.
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