The NBA offseason is upon us, and now is the time where teams on the verge of a title strengthen their roster. Teams that have some work to do, set themselves up to be successful in the upcoming season and near future. And teams that are three-to-five years away rebuild through the draft, or sell their most talented players to collect picks and assets.
The Houston Rockets possible find themselves in two or three of these situations. They’re a team that can be a piece(s) away from a title and they’re also a team that you can say are in rebuild/retool mode.
Going into the 2015-2016 season the Rockets weren’t expecting to be in this situation. They had just acquired Ty Lawson and it was the first time in a longtime Rockets GM Daryl Morey decided to bring back the same team he had last season. Mix that with their superstar James Harden coming into camp out of shape and not ready for the season to go, along with chemistry issues between the two best players and you have a full team regression.
The consensus between the fanbase and the organization is to get into the Kevin Durant sweepstakes, but after not even getting a meeting Rockets should move on to plan B. What’s plan B? No clue, but KD AIN’T it. Looking at the 2016 free agent class a few names pop up, like Arron Afflalo, Harrison Barnes (don’t kill me), Bismack Biyombo, Maurreese Speights, Bradley Beal, Michael Conley, Courtney Lee and many others. Not a lot of “WOW” names, but solid acquisitions that can help the team immediately rather then putting your eggs in one basket and not getting anything in return.
Space City Scoop
With a new head coach in Mike D’Antoni and a top-five player in James Harden, the most important thing is to get the best players to fit the system. You cannot go into another season with a “3-happy” philosophy while at the same time giving Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer multiple shots a night. You need guys that can run the floor, play defense and most importantly knock down open shots created by your superstar.
With Dwight Howard likely out the door and moving on to his next team, the Rockets have roughly $46 million dollars in cap room. You know the needs that should be filled on the roster, and you know what player to build around. The plan going into free agency should be easy; while everybody else is focused on spoon feeding Kevin Durant, you go out and sign the best of the “B-List” type players.
The objective is simple, get younger, more athletic and more efficient on both sides of the ball. Take pressure off of James Harden offensively and defensively, preserve your star for the long haul and get equipped for the 2016-2017 season.
If Rockets “swing for the fences” and they miss, this team might not make it to next year’s postseason. We all know Harden’s contract is up after the upcoming season, need to make sure he sees winning and titles in his next chapter of his career.