DimeMag

5 Reasons The Rockets Are Championship Contenders

The NBA season is still young and teams have yet to reach their full potential, but there are already squads who are showing signs of brilliance. The Raptors in the East, and the Grizzlies in the West, have been scorching hot out of the gate, while we know others — such as the Cavaliers, Bulls, Spurs and Warriors — will be making noise come playoff time. But it is the Rockets who are finally becoming the team many predicted after signing Dwight Howard to play alongside James Harden two summers ago.

Houston is currently 13-4 in the ultra competitive Western Conference, sitting in 2nd place in the Southwest division. As great as the opposition is, the Rockets have maneuvered themselves into the conversation with the league’s elite and have sprung new life into Space City.

Below are the five reasons why you shouldn’t be surprised if the Rockets are hoisting up the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy come June.

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5. Three-Point Shooting

The loss of Chandler Parsons this past summer, a rising star who knocked down 130 three-pointers and shot above the league average last season, was expected to hurt Houston’s offense, but the signing of “three-and-D” extraordinaire Trevor Ariza and sharpshooter Jason Terry have rightfully eased all concerns.

Ariza is currently leading all small forwards in three-pointers made with 43, while the rejuvenated, 37-year-old Terry – whose NBA career appeared to be coming to an end last season in Brooklyn – has drained 40.8 percent of all attempts from beyond the arc.

As a team, the Rockets knock down 12.2 three-pointers per game and have made 207 overall, both marks are the tops in the league.

4. Ability to Endure Adversity

The season is less than a quarter of the way through and the Rockets have already used eight different starting lineups due to numerous injuries — including Dwight Howard’s knee issue that has kept him off the floor since Nov. 17. Compare that to other perennial teams in the West, such as the Warriors (who have used two lineups), Blazers (three lineups) and Grizzlies (four lineups), and you may begin to appreciate Houston and their resilience just a bit more.

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