Amid a sea of changes sweeping its way across the league, the Houston Rockets look an awful lot like the team we saw last year. There were rumors that Chris Paul could be on his way out of H-Town, but that talk has quieted in recent weeks, and it sure looks as though Houston will try to run it back again next season with the James Harden/CP3 backcourt.
It’s easy to forget now that the Rockets have served as the biggest threat among Western Conference foes to the Golden State dynasty over the last few years. Houston struggled early last season, but they eventually rebounded and once again looked like a fearsome team toward the end of the campaign. Golden State once again ended their season early, but the face that the league is now wide open means Houston should once again be considered among the favorites.
The Houston Rockets do have fairly favorable +1400 odds, but that still puts them behind both LA teams, Milwaukee, and Philadephia. Houston has the same odds as the wounded Warriors, and slightly better odds than teams like Utah and Denver. The Rockets finished the 2017-18 season with the best record in the NBA, and its safe to say the roster they have now has more talent than that one did.
Houston’s chances hinge on whether Paul can look a little less old than he did a season ago. CP3 has a lot of mileage on his legs, and he did not look like the superstar we have come to know for much of last season. He averaged 15.6 points, 7.2 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game across 58games. His field goal percentage dipped by about 5%, while his three-point shooting fell by just over 2%. Houston is banking on Paul serving as Robin to Harden’s Batman, and he just wasn’t good enough in 2018-19.
Whether he ever gets to a superstar level again remains to be seen. If he does, though, I don’t see much reason the Rockets cant contend with the other teams atop the Western Conference. The Rockets have more continuity than most of their conference rivals, which may well count for something once it’s all said and done. I think the value on Houston at +1400 is outstanding.