The Rockets Will Not Meet the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals Next Season

P.J.-Tucker-Chris-Paul-Trevor-Ariza-Luc-Mbah-a-Moute-James-Harden
Photo via ClutchPoints

 

The Houston Rockets free-agency has, um, not gone well up to this point. Yeah, I know they didn’t lose Chris Paul but they did sign him to a massive 4 year deal worth $160 Mil. In the last year of his contract he will be 36, he will make $44 Mil, and will probably just be crawling up and down the court by then. That’s a funny visual… But yes, I know we aren’t talking about 4 seasons from now but the point is that CP3 hasn’t exactly been the most healthy player in the league, recently. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a very good player and one of the best point guards in the league. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s going to be a problem for the Rockets next year but I do think that contract will handicap their ability to grow in the years to come as he ages. Paul’s inability to stay healthy IS a major issue, though. Just picture a Ferrari (Chris Paul) just sitting in a garage (the bench) for the summer (the playoffs), it does you no good just sitting there. In the last two seasons, Chris has missed a total of 45 games, not including the playoffs. He isn’t exactly the pinnacle of good health and the ability to stay healthy doesn’t get any easier with age.

 

Warriors Rockets Basketball
Photo via The Mercury News

 

Aside from Chris Paul, the Rockets have a current free-agent, (Clint Capella) who will more than likely stay with the team. But they also had 2 other free agents who have already signed with other teams (Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute). Ariza signed with the Suns and Mbah a Moute signed with the Clippers. “What’s the big deal? They were minimal pieces for the Rockets this year. It won’t make that much of a difference.” Well… it does. Losing those two is a does make a difference because while the Rockets will still be able to score, they just lost 2 of their 3 best defenders from the 2017-2018 season. People forget that that the Rockets had a stellar defense last season. They were the #6 rated defense in the league last year during the regular season and that was a huge reason that they had the best record in the the NBA. The Rockets offense was great, no doubt, but Ariza and Mbah a Moute are versatile wing defenders with plenty of length to help them match-up well with anybody on the court. The Rockets have failed, so far, to fill those two voids with quality players. They’re looking hard at Carmelo Anthony right now but that would not not be an upgrade defensively at all. Last year Melo couldn’t cover a pool, he was one of the worst defensive players in the league and looked like an elderly man a majority of the time.

All I’m saying is that the Rockets will not be as good next year, that’s obvious. And with the West getting stronger and stronger by the day, there are more and more teams coming for the title of the second best in the West (Warriors are #1, obviously). Depending on how the regular season goes next year and how the seeding works out in the end, the Rockets will lose in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Warriors will most likely be the #1 seed and the Rockets/ Lakers will be the #2/#3 seeds. Yes, I’m predicting that the Lakers will be far better than people are giving them credit for. After all, they DO have the best player on the planet. If that match-up does happen, like I predict it will, they Rockets will not have enough defense and depth to keep up with the relatively young Lakers team who are being led by the King.

 

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