Team: Houston Rockets:
Placing last season: 34-32 (9th in Western Conference)
Key moves: The acquisition of Jeremy Lin in free agency, just a year after they waived him, created the biggest news the Rockets have had since Yao Ming played there.
Apart from that the Rockets were quite quiet in terms of big player moves. They signed Bulls backup center Omer Asik, who will give them some front court presence and ex-Raptor Carlos Delfino.
Challenges ahead: When Kevin Martin is your best player, your ceiling is going to be limited. For all his statistical prowess, GM Daryl Morey has failed to make the Rockets better during his tenure.
The Lin acquisition could be a positive but you have to wonder how much his success was a product of playing with Stoudemire and Carmelo.
In a super-competitive Western Conference they’ll struggle to make the playoffs with this team, which really is the minimum the Rockets will be hoping for.
Reason to be positive: Lin did show glimpses of greatness while he was at the Knicks, coining the phrase ‘Linsanity’. If he can push on from there then the Rockets have done a great piece of business, at least while his contract is team-friendly.
Prediction: 44-38 (9th in Western Conference)
image: © Jay Santiago