PG: Ty Lawson
SG: James Harden
SF: Trevor Ariza
PF: Terrence Jones
C: Dwight Howard
Key Bench Pieces:
The Houston Rockets had a very successful 2014-15 campaign as Western Conference runner ups. James Harden was a monster throughout the playoffs and should have no trouble leading this talented Rockets team again. Harden was beyond elite last year, averaging 27 pts, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, finishing second to Steph Curry in the MVP vote. The league as a whole has shifted from a big man's game to a playmaker's game and its clear when you look at what players like Harden can do.
It isnt all about Harden though, as Dwight Howard staying healthy and giving near elite production will be the key to a successful Houston season. Dwight is still plenty good enough to take over a game and it is a lot easier for a big man when he can pick his spots instead of having to carry the load every single game. Trevor Ariza and Terrence Jones are other key starters who perform very well and fill key roles on the team.
One of Houston's biggest moves of the offseason was trading for Ty Lawson in July for just one first round pick and some deep bench pieces. Lawson came so cheap because of off-court issues; he entered a 30-day residential treatment program after his second DUI. It was seen as a risk to trade for Lawson as he was unstable at the time and many were worried he would not make it back from his alcoholism. However, the season is a week away and Lawson looks to be ready to go with no recent issues. This is a huge lift for the Rockets postseason chances as late in the playoffs Harden was getting double teamed and Houston did not have the offensive punch to compete with Golden State. Hopefully this puts them over the hump, Lawson stays clean, and the Rockets improve on the court.
The most flashy Texas team is ready to make a statement this year. I would not be surprised at all if James Harden overtook Steph Curry for the MVP this year with Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza and Ty Lawson performing exceptionally well and leading them to a deep playoff run for the second straight year.
By Jack Journeay