Daryl Morey thinks he’s put together a team in Houston that can take down Golden State in the West. Morey spoke to the media at a press conference where the team introduced P.J. Tucker, who signed a four-year, $34 million contract with the Rockets earlier in the week.
The addition of Tucker and the trade for Chris Paul means James Harden will have a few new options to work with on offense this season, and Morey is excited about Houston’s chances on the court this season.
“We really like our eight we have right now,” Morey said. “Coach doesn’t play much more than that, anyway. We really feel like we have a group we can go to war with right now. If something comes along, my job is I have to look at it. Our rotation … I’ll put that group up against anyone in the league.”
It’s a great line for a GM that’s been busy this summer, but the meaning is clear: Morey thinks this roster can play against the Warriors in the postseason and at the very least not get swept. Morey was asked directly about competing against Golden State and admitted that’s the obvious goal in what’s become a bit of an arms race out West, one he thinks his team is catching up in.
“They’re one of the best teams ever,” Morey said. “We obviously felt we needed to close the gap. We felt we have closed the gap. They’re the ones with two rings in the last three years. You have to say they’re going to be the favorites going in. We feel like this is a group that can compete with them.”
Whether Paul and Harden can lead Houston past the Warriors is very much up for debate, but the Rockets have quietly improved this offseason on both ends of the court. Tucker will help, Nene should be healthy and the team has also brought in Zhou Qi with a mid-level exemption. That might not be enough to reach the Finals, but maybe it prevents an inexplicable loss in the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season.