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With the start of the 2013-14 NBA season rapidly approaching, we thought it only fair to share what makes each team so exciting. Ontologically speaking, all 30 teams deserve our eyeballs this season. Even disastrous lineups still present oodles of plays, personalities, highlights and headaches. Here are five things to keep in mind for each team before flipping the channel.
Next up, a Houston Rockets team with a new center you might have heard about.
“Houston, we have liftoff.” The Houston Rockets and their fans are in for an exciting year, picking up where they left off last season. A plethora of young talent and superstar James Harden played an effective brand of basketball last season. This year, they will become even more insurmountable after the blockbuster addition of Dwight Howard. If that is not enough of reason for you to watch Houston play basketball this year, read on.
Continuing with Dime’s season previews â€” as I carve another mark in the wall next to my bed for every day that’s gone by before the beginning of the NBA season â€“ lets take a ride out west to the Texas triangle. Our journey next arrives at the city of Houston where there’s Dwight Howard, NASA, and a professional basketball team.
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Dwight Howard is Happy!
This may sound a little erroneous, but for the first time in years, Dwight Howard is happy with his scenery situation, which will correlate with his effort of play. Last year, fans were deprived of Howard in the playoffs. His defensive playmaking skills and athleticism make him one of the most talented players in the NBA. The expectation this year is Howard and James Harden can carry their team as far as the NBA Finals if they gel as a team.
Watching Howard at the receiving end of alley-oops and cleaning up missed shots will play well with Rockets fans, who have a history of rallying behind some great centers in year’s past.
If Dwight is kept happy while running pick-and-rolls with Harden then the Rockets will have another ace defensive presence in the post, a rebounding machine, and someone to draw attention inside to leave wing shooters open. It’s a good fit, as long as Dwight stays happy, which is never as simple as it first seems.
James Harden…and his Beard
If last year didn’t force you to believe James Harden is one of the top shooting guards in the NBA, it won’t take long this year to make you a believer. Harden proved he can carry the scoring load when needed, averaging 25.9 PPG and dishing out 5 assists as well. Entering his fifth year, it’s only just begun for Harden as the potential he’s shown in OKC and Houston continues to blossom.
With a better team around him this year, Harden should be set on getting the Rockets out of the first round, and to the NBA Finals. Whether he can mesh well with Howard will go a long way towards that goal, but so far it looks to be a good connection. It was Harden that took the #GotEm picture of D-12 above.
Click the next page for 3 more reasons to watch…
There’s a New Sheriff Out West
The Western Conference is looking very strong this year, as always, and the first seed is essentially comes down to four teams. Houston has a chance to take the reigns of the West for the next couple of years, something the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder won’t be too thrilled to hear. The Rockets have the ability to match up well with both of these teams, having an edge in the rebounding column with Howard and Omer Asik both formidable on the glass.
Look for the Rockets to be atop the conference all season, winning close to 60 games. Any team winning above 55 wins has to be a fun team to watch â€“ at least in my eyes. This will also shake things up out west and cut the winning percentage of other teams.
Games Will Always be About Buckets
If you love offense and a ton of scoring, then look no further than Houston. Only the Denver Nuggets scored more than the Rockets last season. Houston averaged 106 points per game last year and did a majority of their damage from behind the 3-point line and in transition as they played the fastest pace in the league last season.
Now take the equation of creating 3-point shots, and throw in Dwight Howard, who often commands a double team. Together you get more looks from behind the arc on a team locked and loaded with 3-point threats like Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverly, Harden, and Francisco Garcia.
We can add another 20 PPG scorer to the team, too. Dwight Howard and James Harden have a chance to be the best offensive duo in the league this year. Along with young guns like Parsons and Beverly, there are a multitude of players that have nose for putting the ball in the hoop. It will be hard to deny Houston from getting their points on a nightly basis. Simply put, many teams will have a hard time keeping up with them unless Dwight’s low-post play slows it all down.
Young Talent Everywhere
Generally, young teams are fun to watch due to their infinite amount of energy, even when it’s translating into sloppy basketball. Most young players possess an incomparable drive to get better, with a motivation level through the roof. The Rockets have ten players 25 years of age and younger, making up two-thirds of their team.
There’s the cheap talent of Chandler Parsons on that second round salary that will pay him under $1 million this year in the third year of a four-year contract in Houston. He averaged 15.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 3.5 APG last season while shooting better than 48 percent from the field, 38 percent on 3-point attempts and 72 percent from the line. The versatile 6-9 forward out of Billy Donovan‘s Florida squad has turned into a steal for Daryl Morey, and exemplifies what makes this team so much fun, while also allowing the addition of Howard. If Parsons can continue to improve along with Beverly â€” entering his second year â€” and Lin, who is actually entering his third season, the Rockets will have the pieces to compete for a title this season and beyond.
Had a blast at the @ufc fight with my guys @JHarden13 and @DwightHoward! Was incredible. pic.twitter.com/gfllBtOUFT
— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) October 20, 2013
It’s good to be a Rockets fan these days.
What do you think?
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