The Houston Rockets have been criticized heavily by the national media for their moves this offseason. The star of the team is here to set things straight.
The Houston Rockets have had an offseason that drew many of the usual doubters out of their caves and back to criticizing the team, saying that they are overall a worse team and some even thinking that they aren’t the second best in the West.
This is a harsh accusation against a team that won a franchise-record 65 games and took one of the most talented teams ever assembled, the Golden State Warriors, to seven games in the Conference Finals.
Did they lose some key players on the team? Yes, of course. No one is doubting that at all. Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza were a huge part of the team last season, bringing their best most every night. Thinking that they aren’t replaceable, though, is just wrong.
The Rockets still were an incredible team when those two were hurt or suspended, with the important factor being the health of the big 3 of James Harden, Chris Paul & Clint Capela. Houston was 14-1 in the regulars season without Ariza. In the playoffs, Mbah a Moute was practically unplayable after his shoulder dislocation. The Rockets still found plenty of success.
Obviously, the Rockets still had to find a way to replace some of the production lost by the two. No matter how good the team was without them, they needed to improve in some way to get past the Warriors, now with DeMarcus Cousins.
James Ennis was signed as an athletic and younger version of Trevor Ariza who a lot of people don’t really know about. He can definitely help the team in a similar way to Mbah a Moute and Ariza did last season. If Houston manages to find another defensive wing in the trade market, they could be even better with those two and Carmelo Anthony.
James Harden is using the criticism as motivation
James Harden certainly isn’t downplaying the offseason of this team. He had an interview with the Players’ Tribune in which he went off on the critics of the Rockets.
This is one of the most expressive things we have seen Harden do off the court and he definitely seems motivated and ready for the season. He gave specific examples of how the Rockets have overcome adversity from the media in the past and how he has confidence in the upcoming year.
Carmelo Anthony joins the team as the most controversial addition of the offseason for the Houston Rockets. He had a down year, to say the least, and is looking to get back on track. Playing with two Hall of Fame level playmakers in Chris Paul and James Harden can do just that for him offensively. Defensively, he will be tasked with primarily guarding power forwards, which he should be able to do at least somewhat average or he can be hidden on that end.
James Harden and Chris Paul aren’t worried, though. They are both very excited to play with Carmelo Anthony and eventually fight for the goal of a championship. For a team that was arguably an injury away from the Finals, I see where they are coming from and can’t wait to see them in action.