I have the Houston Rockets pencilled into the Western Conference Finals, if not further. But I’m wrong. You’re wrong, too, if you have the same. We’re all going to be wrong once we get to late May/early June.
Let me tell you why…
- Too many people are high on them — when was the last time a team came together during free agency and actually lived up to the overbearing expectations? The Miami Heat? The Los Angeles Lakers failed miserably last year. I see the Houston Rockets falling somewhere in between.
- Don’t have a big three — We are living through the era of the “big three” in the NBA right now. Five (Miami Heat 2X, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics) of the last seven NBA Finals champions have had, in one way or another, a big three. The Rockets have James Harden, Dwight Howard and a bunch of other really good pieces. They need one more star.
- Chemistry — it has been reported that Omar Asik wants nothing to do with the Rockets and Dwight Howard. He doesn’t want to be a backup, nor should he be. The relationship may get better as time goes on, but right now that anger is not part of a championship formula.
- Defense — The Rockets allowed 102.5 points per game last season (28th), the worst of any playoff teams. If they want to be serious contenders, that needs to change. Three of the four teams invovled in the conference finals last season finished in the top-7 in points allowed per game. San Antonio finished the worst, allowing 96.6 points per game, still much better than Houston. Howard will help change that, but he can’t do it alone.
- Kevin Durant — I see a ton of people are sleeping on the Oklahoma City Thunder. As far as I remember, if Russell Westbrook doesn’t get hurt, we would’ve seen a Thunder vs Heat finals, right? Everyone expected it, we were heading for it. Durant isn’t getting any worse, only better. It’s more than likely that the Thunder will finish with the best record in the west, barring any injury, the Rockets are going to have to get by the Durant and OKC. Oh yeah, and Durant isn’t going to be happy how he exited last year’s playoffs.
The Rockets are good, there’s no question. I think we’re getting too hyped over their potential and not looking at this team objectionably. Yes, they have the opportunity to do something great, but they still haven’t even played a game. Remeber how foolish LeBron James looked when he was guaranteeing (multiple) titles to the Heat fans? Well, we (Houston fans) are doing the same by already pencilling the Rockets into the Finals.
Let’s stop and watch it unfold. We could be sitting here (again) in June, with the Rockets in the Finals. That very well could happen, but let’s let it. So many times we want to assume, that way we could take credit later. Not me. I’m assuming, but holding my breath. My heart says Houston will have one special season, my head says otherwise.