The Houston Rockets dominated teams all season long, but in the end fell just short of their ultimate goal; an NBA Championship. What moves do they need to make this offseason to make the leap to the next level?
While injuries may have played a big role in the Houston Rockets downfall this postseason, they also have several areas to improve in if they want to avoid another exit before the NBA Finals next year.
The Los Angeles Clippers exposed their lack of depth at point guard, as Chris Paul dished out alley oops at ease to Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Even Austin Rivers looked good against Houston, as he and J.J. Redick combined for 56 points in Game 3.
The Rockets would fall down 3-1 to the Clippers, but made an insane three-game run to advance to the Western Conference finals. Unfortunately, they had another elite point guard to face; NBA MVP Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
Curry and the Warriors rattled off three straight wins to start the series, including a horrific 35-point beatdown on Houston’s home court. While a 45-point night from James Harden held the Warriors off in Game 4, their lack of depth was completely exposed as they were overpowered down the stretch of Game 5.
A healthy Patrick Beverley would have certainly made a difference for the Rockets, but he is still going to need some help behind him. Unfortunately for the Rockets, the 2015 free agent class is extremely weak at the point guard position.
Beyond backcourt depth, another problem for Houston was the inability to match up with two dominant big men on either end of the court, as Dwight Howard constantly found himself outmatched against Griffin and Jordan. As good as Terrence Jones has been this season, he can be a defensive liability against bigger and stronger players due to his 6-foot-9 frame. Donatas Motiejunas had a breakout year while filling in for Howard and Jones, but even if healthy, he would have struggled with the Clippers’ athleticism.
Beverley is a restricted free agent, and locking him up longterm would be wise. Take a look at their horrific attempts to defend the elite point guards of the Clippers and Warriors.
Jason Terry will likely either retire, or come back to Houston for cheap. As much as I love seeing ‘The Jet’ on the Houston side of the I-45 rivalry, he will be far down the team’s list of offseason priorities.
Two big question marks heading into the offseason will be Josh Smith and Corey Brewer. Both were midseason acquisitions that played tremendous roles in the Rockets’ playoff run, and both are unrestricted free agents that could test the free agent market.
This offseason is going to be a crucial one for the Houston Rockets organization, and the team is going to have some big decisions to make as they take the next step towards becoming an NBA champion.
With that said, here are five moves that they should consider in the coming months: