This is going to be a real hard season to be a fan of the Houston Rockets. It’s not that the team is going to be bad, quite the contrary. However, without Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady, there isn’t a lot of hope in H-Town for a serious run at the NBA title. Well, that’s what they say.
For my part, while I agree a title is something of a pipe dream, but I believe this team is a lot better than anyone is giving them credit for. They were, for the most part, was the only squad to give the eventual NBA Champion, the Los Angeles Lakers, any competition in last year’s playoffs. Despite being without Yao and T-Mac, the team that will take the floor tonight in Portland is better than the team that pushed the Lakers to seven games in last year’s Western Conference Semifinals. Of course, a lot of teams are better than they were last season.
Despite the lack of hope, I find myself incredibly excited about this new NBA season. A lot of it has to do with the residual pride left over from last year’s playoff match-up with the Lakers. Outside of the two NBA championships, there isn’t a moment I was more proud to be a Rockets fan than games 4 and 6 last season. This team is capable of more than it appears on paper, and it’s going to make for an interesting season. I feel it is also going to pay INCREDIBLE dividends when the Rockets do, finally?, get Yao and Tracy back next season and beyond. These guys went to war last season, and they know how good they are when they work as a team. Together, they can become a third superstar Houston has been lacking to offset those nights when Yao or Tracy was unable to produce.
This season will be a clinic on adversity, and fighting through it. In the end, they are going to know how to get things done when they need to. Right now, I believe the Rockets will be in the thick of things for either the seventh or eighth seed in the Western Conference. That will likely result in a first round dance with the Los Angeles Lakers or San Antonio Spurs, and a likely first round ouster. However, if the best the Rockets can do is a first round and out, I’m going to be a very happy fan indeed.
I’m liking the San Antonio Spurs this season, and will even go so far as to say this will be Tim Duncan’s last championship. In any case, it’s entirely way too early to make any predictions. That’s why they play the games. I just wish more people would take that into account before writing this year’s Rockets.
I look forward to watching them surprise us all.