The Houston Rockets enter 2019 with lofty expectations after falling just short of defeating the Golden State Warriors last season. 2018 was a year of many accomplishments for the Houston Rockets, including the league’s best regular season record and James Harden winning the NBA MVP award. However, the season came up short of the Rockets ultimate goal - beating the Warriors and winning an NBA championship.
The Rockets will face even more competition than they did last season after an off-season that saw the Western Conference get even stronger. Houston remains unphased by other team’s splashy moves, instead focused on building off the remarkable progress of last season. The Rockets were one Chris Paul hamstring injury away from finally dethroning the Warriors and advancing to the NBA Finals, where they would have been heavy favorites. If last year proved anything, it’s that the Rockets are legitimate championship contenders and the Warriors are totally beatable.
James Harden and Chris Paul are the engines that keep the Rockets in orbit. James Harden is coming off his well deserved MVP winning season, while Chris Paul is fresh off an impressive year himself and a brand new four-year contract. The two superstars form a dynamic backcourt duo of elite shooting and playmaking, which is complemented perfectly by the rest of the carefully constructed roster. Eric Gordon is one of the game’s best sixth men, P.J. Tucker, is the ideal “3 & D” player, and Clint Capela has emerged as a top center in the NBA.
General manager Daryl Morey and head coach Mike D’Antoni don’t shy away from the Rockets strategy, which is to shoot a lot of threes - a lot of threes. The Rockets play a fast-paced and entertaining brand of basketball that seems to set three point records as each game on the schedule goes by. A franchise built around analytics, modern trends, and superstars, the Houston Rockets expect to compete for a championship once again this season.