The Rockets’ breakout participant will probably be…

There are two choices proper now for breakout participant on the Rockets. The first is Danuel House, who Houston signed to a three-year, $11.5 million deal within the offseason. House performed in 38 video games final season for the Rockets and spent a while within the G-League throughout a contract dispute, however his 41-percent taking pictures from deep and 6’7” body made him an asset for a staff that lacked measurement on the wing. Now that he’s with the staff full-time, House has an opportunity to enhance on the 9.four factors per recreation he averaged final yr and probably even change into a full-time starter. The second choice is Ben McLemore, who’s been considerably of a disappointment in his NBA profession, however has seemed nice in coaching camp and within the preseason and has an actual likelihood to show his profession round as a microwave man off the bench for a title contender.

It all goes unsuitable if…

James Harden and Russell Westbrook simply can’t appear to rekindle their on-court chemistry. There’s loads of “there’s only one-ball” haters on the market, however these two gamers are shut mates and former teammates who had success taking part in alongside each other earlier than. But that was years in the past, earlier than Harden turned the totally actualized supernova that he’s in the present day. When they performed for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden got here off the bench. Now he runs the present, and he’s confirmed he will be profitable with one other ball-dominant guard when he performed subsequent to Chris Paul. But can Westbrook take a essential half-step again and be choice 1B as a substitute of the certifiable staff alpha? That’s the important thing.

What we’ll be saying in regards to the Rockets on the finish of the season…

That this is likely one of the greatest, if not the perfect staff within the league. Now, there’s loads of competitors on the market; Many groups have improved dramatically. But the league can also be with out the identical Golden State juggernaut they’ve had the final a number of seasons. The Warriors will probably be good, but it surely’s not the identical staff. So regardless of added competitors in locations like L.A. and Utah, there’s an open window right here for the Rockets. And not solely have they got premiere expertise once more on the prime of their roster, they’re additionally a a lot deeper staff than they had been final yr. Austin Rivers will probably be with the staff for the total season, so will Danuel House. Tyson Chandler is now aboard, so is Ben McLemore and Thabo Sefoloasha. Eric Gordon has been resigned. So has Gerald Green and Nene. They have a prime coach (greatest win proportion in franchise historical past), a fantastic GM, they usually’re armed with the information that the time is now for these Rockets. Expect them to go for it.

Final prediction

Vegas odds have the Rockets’ over-under at 52.5, and I really feel like you must take the over. This is a greater squad on paper than final yr’s staff. Heck, James Harden would possibly have the ability to get this forged of gamers to the over by himself with out Russell Westbrook subsequent to him. After all, Chris Paul missed 24 video games final yr, and the Rockets nonetheless received 53 video games. This yr’s staff is deeper total, shoot higher, are extra athletic, and really have a couple of wing defenders. Add Russ to that, and so long as the chemistry is correct, this staff ought to have one of many highest win totals within the league. Tough competitors will mitigate that some, however search for one other massive yr for the boys in crimson.

Final prediction: 57-25

Darren Yuvan (@DarrenYuvan)

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