The Houston Rockets are currently sitting at the top of the Western Conference with an 18-4 record and are looking like a legit threat to dethrone the Golden State Warriors during Mike D’Antoni’s second year in charge of the franchise.
James Harden and company fell short of the goal the prior campaign, but they’re looking more and more solid altogether this year upon Chris Paul ‘s arrival, and we already know they’re looking forward to nothing less than a trip to the NBA finals this year.
Nonetheless, it just feels like they’re not getting the respect they deserve so far, and people just tend to look at the Warriors, Cavaliers and Celtics as legit title contenders. Still, we’re going to give you 5 reasons why the Rockets will go to distance and finally win it all again this season, taking home the O’Brien for the first time since 1995.
The Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors have recently built a bit of a rivalry here, with the Dubs constantly getting the last laugh as the most dominant team since the Jordan Bulls, and the Rockets have never been able to go past the Warriors in any playoff series in history.
So, with Golden State knocking the Rockets out of the playoffs in back to back seasons (2016: 4-1, 2015: 4-1), expect some extra motivation out of Houston, as things are starting to get a little bit personal in this series at this point.
4. The Rockets Are Built To Dethrone The Warriors
Mike D’Antoni has done a terrific job putting this squad together and has finally found a lot of balance in defense and offense to match up very nice against the fast-paced run and gun Golden State Warriors offense and their suffocating team defense as well.
The Rockets feature great shooters in James Harden, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson while also having great wing stoppers in Trevor Ariza, PJ Tucker and Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, while Clint Capela has taken his game to a whole new dimension in both ends of the hardwood and could be a huge factor in this series.
3. Chris Paul
The Rockets are currently 7 and 0 with Chris Paul in the lineup, and they also hold the best offensive and defensive efficiency with CP3 on the court, winning every game he’s played on by an average of 21 points and displaying a beautifully orchestrated offense featuring two of the best passers in the world.
Besides, we all know Paul is sick and tired of never even having the chance to play in the NBA Finals, and the future Hall of Famer is just keen and desperate to win an NBA Championship before deciding to retire, and he’s got the best chance of his career now that he’s still on his prime.
2. They Are Strong Enough For The East
The Eastern Conference features the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, and even though they’re both legit title contenders, they just don’t have enough personnel to match up with the Rockets neither offensively or defensively, so the real threat for them this season are the Spurs and the Warriors.
If Houston reaches the Finals, you should just go ahead and hand them the title. See, Cleveland could keep up the pace and try to outshoot them, but they don’t have the kind of stoppers to contain Harden and friends, while Boston would have it exactly the opposite way.
1. James Harden
James Harden is one of the 5 best players in the world right now, and perhaps the most effective scorer in the league with his 31 points per game and 45/40/86 to go along with 1.7 steals, 5.1 rebounds and 9.2 dimes per contest, and he’s coming off the best season of his career as the MVP runner-up.
Now, the shooting guard already knows what it is to take his team to distance and he won’t mess up another shot at the Championship. With this kind of skillset, motivation and the fact that he’s yet to peak, you better fear the beard for sure.