2012-2013 NBA Division Preview: Southwest Division

4. Houston Rockets

One can almost excuse the Rockets for stumbling out of the blocks last season (3-7 over their first 10 games), as they were one of the nameless victims of the botched multi-team Chris Paul deal. Under the leadership of (then) new head coach Kevin McHale, the Rockets had aspirations of pairing Pau Gasol and Nene in their front court. We all know how things went with that deal, and the Rockets were left in the cold. Much like the other GMs, Daryl Morey was understandably scrambling to place a ‘Plan B’ in motion when he signed Samuel Dalembert (Dec 26, 2011) instead.

In the process of trying to procure the services of Dwight Howard from Orlando, Morey puzzled many with his decision to utilize the amnesty provision on an effective player like PF Luis Scola, which allowed him to go to another team within the conference (Phoenix Suns) that could end up battling for an eighth seed in the West if Houston overachieves. Not to mention, the questionable decisions to allow PG Goran Dragic to do the very same thing (via free agency), all while you traded oft-injured starting PG Kyle Lowry to the Raptors. After all that, Morey seemed to simply be grasping at straws by sinking $50M over the next three years into Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin. Peculiar moves, to say the least.

At the last hour, Morey was able to swing a deal for OKC’s combo-guard James Harden. By giving up multiple draft picks, Jeremy Lamb, and Kevin Martin, Houston certainly took a gamble. Especially if they are unable to convince Harden to re-sign at the end of the year. Time will tell if the moves end up panning out, but it seems as though Morey could use a bit of positivity to go his way in terms of recent deals. I’m not predicting a total slide off the map for Houston, as Harden is currently a top 25 player with the potential to improve. Does Morey have a post player in mind to partner with Harden for the future?

Key Additions: Terrence Jones, Royce White, Gary Forbes, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik, James Harden
Key Departures: Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Samuel Dalembert, Jeremy Lamb, Kevin Martin

Next Page: New Orleans Hornets

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