Rockets Return With Strong Roster

Ethan Epley ’16

After an offseason plagued with uncertainty and free agency failure, the Rockets look to
come back stronger this year. Houston had high hopes in the offseason, with interest in LeBron
James, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh. In order to clear room for potential deals, the
Rockets let Chandler Parsons go to the Mavericks, Omer Asik to the Pelicans, and Jeremy Lin
to the Lakers. The cap space was cleared, however a deal for an elite player never materialized.
Despite a weak showing in the free agency market, the Rockets have great optimism about the
coming 2014-2015 season.

After losing in the first round of playoffs to Portland 4-2, the Rockets were questioned as
to whether or not they were a championship quality team. They performed well in the regular
season going 54-28. Dwight Howard and James Harden are two top players that will provide
points and elite talent to the Rockets team. However, with no new additions in the offseason, will
Harden and Howard be able to lead the Rockets into the playoffs again? The Western
Conference holds many interesting teams for the 2014-2015 season including the Spurs and
Thunder. The Spurs, the defending champions, look to continue their streak of NBA dominance.
Kevin Durant of the Thunder fractured his foot in the preseason so Russell Westbrook will need
to step up in his role as a prominent member of Oklahoma City. Despite the loss of Durant for a
few weeks at Oklahoma City, the Rockets are still going to have stiff competition in the Western

Sticking with the Kevin Durant theme, there are rumors of a prospective move to the Rockets in the coming years. This would not only provide a powerful third piece to the Rockets offense but also provide a strong leadership figure that might be able to guide the Rockets to a championship. When this move would happen remains to be seen, however it would increase championship chances of the Rockets exponentially. Other interesting moves of the summer was the acquisition of Nick Johnson, the point guard/shooting guard from Arizona, in the second round of the draft. Also, the Rockets acquired free agent Trevor Ariza, who played with the Wizards the year before. And despite already being with the Rockets, Isaiah Canaan will be a
critical player this year for the Rockets. His position of point guard will be key during the season
and the institution of young talent into the team will help. Also a current member of the team,
Donatas Motiej┼źnas should be able to step up into first team action after the offseason
departure of Omer Asik.

So what do we know now? The Western Conference still looks strong for this next season. The Spurs, still having their talent from last year, could easily make another championship run. The Rockets place among all of this should be interesting to see. The Rockets no doubt have the talent to make it far in the season, however questions of the leadership abilities of some of our star players will continue to be posed.