Rockets general manager Darryl Morey has rolled the dice once again in hopes of bringing Houston its first title in over 20 years. Morey mortgaged the future sending two first-round picks to Oklahoma City as well as a couple pick swaps away for 2017 MVP Russell Westbrook.
Do the picks mean anything to Morey, though? Houston has shown they're new approach to team building: forgo the draft entirely. The team hasn't made a first-round selection since 2015, and that streak will continue to grow.
Westbrook offers immense athleticism and familiarity with fellow former MVP James Harden. Two of the NBA’s most unguardable players will now share the same backcourt.
With a strong bench and handful of solid defenders, Houston did make it to within a single game of the 2018 NBA Finals.
Houston’s role players have slowly been shipped off over the last few seasons, and the bench now looks absolutely depleted. Still, a potential starting five of Russ, Harden, Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker and Clint Capela does sound like a 130 point-a-night team.
That said, with such a bare-bones bench, the starters will most likely be playing more minutes than ever. In a Mike D'Antoni system, Houston’s stars may be exhausted by mid-season.
They’ll be tough in tight games, no doubt. But the west is the most stacked it has ever been and really nobody’s spot is safe.
This team will need a little extra help, but Morey has just about run out of resources. The team does not have the picks, extra players or even cap to go find another piece.
Expect a decent start for the Rockets but a swift decline as the season goes on. This team could still make the playoffs in a stacked Western Conference. But with the playing time and conflicting playing styles, things could go wrong for Houston fast.