2016-2017 NBA Previews – Rockets Odds
Looking for 2016 Houston Rockets Predictions? We’ve got your back. The Rockets were one of the most aesthetically displeasing teams to watching during the 2015-16 NBA season, and we’re not just talking about their ketchup-and-mustard uniforms. This team relied heavily on James Harden isolations, ignored Dwight Howard in the post and barely sneaked into the Western Conference’s eighth seed despite two stars on the roster (if you considered Howard a star-caliber player last season).
Houston Rockets Season Preview
Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni
2015-16 Record: 41-41
Rockets Odds to NBA Title: +10000
Rockets Odds to Win Conference: +5000
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Entering 2016-17, the hope is that this team can ride Harden and a new system to greater success out West.
Howard is gone and a new head coach is in, giving this team reason for hope, which it desperately needs following last year’s disappointing showing.
Houston Rockets Strengths:
Fair or not, head coach Kevin McHale was canned after a 4-7 start last season. In general manager Darly Morey’s own words, “The team was not responding to Kevin.”
The firing was fair in the sense that if Morey’s words were true, the team needed a change. However, it’s difficult to blame a coach 11 games into a season (after making the Western Conference finals the year before) when his star players can’t figure out how to play with one another.
Putting the past aside, Mike D’Antonio is now on board. Best known for his “seven seconds or less” days with the Phoenix Suns, one thing is clear: Houston is going to be an offensive juggernaut this season.
Think about this: Harden averaged 29 points per game during 2015-16, which was second to only the league’s first unanimous MVP, Stephen Curry. Houston ran the seventh-fastest pace in the league last year.
That number is sure to go up under D’Antoni, giving Harden even more opportunities to surpass the 30-point-per-game mark in 2016-17.
Along with Harden, newcomer Ryan Anderson will give the Rockets a deep threat. Houston had its eyes on Anderson dating back multiple seasons, so when it had a chance to land its man this summer, it wasted no time doing so.
Eric Gordon, another addition, will enhance that aspect of the offense as well — assuming he can stay healthy.
Looking inside the three-point line, Clint Capela is an intriguing prospect with the potential to become a legitimate strength. With Howard gone, now is his time to show this team can in fact find a balanced offensive attack.
Last season, Capela averaged 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 0.8 steals and shot 58.2 percent from the field in just 191. minutes per game.
Houston Rockets Weaknesses:
As strong as the offense has the potential to be, the defense is almost certainly going to be atrocious. As ineffective as Howard was at times last season, he was someone who could legitimately alter shots.
Now he’s gone, and as much potential as Capela has, players such as Anderson aren’t going to make up the difference.
Then there’s Harden. One of the league’s best offensive players has no interest in playing defense, which is only acceptable if the system he’s in can hide him on that side of the floor with stopping the ball in mind.
In case you’ve forgotten, D’Antoni isn’t exactly known for his defensive mindset.
“Seven seconds or less” was the mantra his offenses adopted in the desert, but it might as well have described the amount of time his teams would play defense per possession as well.
Off the court, Houston proved to be one of the most disastrous locker room teams during the 2015-16 campaign. With Howard gone and virtually no other egos standing in Harden’s way, this could prove to be a non issue.
However, we need to see it before we believe it considering just how awful the chemistry and cohesion was a year ago.
Houston Rockets Betting Prediction: 45-37
The Rockets are a confusing team. Like a number of teams out West, we could very well see them fighting for a spot in the playoffs toward the end of the year.
A seventh-to-10th seed doesn’t seem out of the question.
Unlike those other teams fighting, though, this group has enough talent on the roster (and a legitimate superstar controlling the ball on every play) to realistically complete for a fifth or sixth seed if things go right all year.
Vegas set the over/under on this team at 43.5, which makes sense considering their down year in 2015-16.
But with ‘up’ being the only direction this team can go, a 45-win season doesn’t seem out of the question — if chemistry improves and the offense is as good as advertised to make up for the Swiss cheese defense we’ll see throughout the season.
2016 NBA Gambling
What do you think about our 2016 Houston Rockets predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in the 2016-2017 NBA Season!
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