The 2015-16 NBA Season starts soon, preseason hoops are in full swing, and playoff prognostications have begun in earnest. Since season previews can get bogged down by team-specific minutiae, and we cover every basketball team, we’re providing our readers reasons why you should care about all 30 teams in the Association.
There are smart basketball minds who think the Rockets have a very real shot to win the title in 2015-16. They’ve got one of the top basketball players in the world in James Harden; they’re got bodies in the front court to defend the rim (Dwight Howard), and extend the defense in the NBA’s ever fashionable small-ball lineup (Donatas Motiejunas); and they picked up an offseason acquisition, Ty Lawson, who could be just the juice they need to survive the West.
That’s all any of these top-tier teams out West can do. Survive. The talent level is so incredibly high in the top half of the conference, it’s impossible to tell if anyone has an advantage until we start the season and throw all of them together in a medley of super team soup. A very real concern for Houston, as these teams are hacking away at each other: can they ever stay healthy?
Dwight hasn’t suited up for a single postseason contest and it becomes more and more clear he’s just never going to be fully healthy again. Take note young basketball players, if you come into the NBA out of high school and you’re abnormally large, it might be smart to play a couple shorter NCAA seasons (if your family isn’t struggling financially). Teenagers aren’t supposed to prance up and down an NBA hardwood when they’re near seven feet tall and over 250 pounds.
But we digress. The Rockets are deep again, too. Yes, Smoove is in LA now, but Lawson was a big pickup, and they’ve got Trevor Ariza, Corey Brewer, and rookie Sam Dekker on the wing. Clint Capela looked really good in short bursts during last year’s playoffs and should see a lot of time at center, depending on Howard. Terrence Jones, Donanatas Motiejunas and rookie Montrezl Harrell will man the four, and it’ll be up to Kevin McHale to juggle all those big bodies in the frontcourt.
But that’s a good problem to have. The real question — and one that every coach for every contending team has to navigate — is which pieces will fit the best together?