2008-2009 Houston Rockets Season Preview
2008 Houston Rockets preview from the Maddux Sports experts. After reading be sure to view today's NBA point spread odds for the scheduled games.
Last season, the Houston Rockets (55- 27) finished one game behind the New Orleans Hornets and San Antonio Spurs. It was quite a season as the club ran off 22 straight wins, with 10 of them coming after Yao Ming broke his foot and was lost for the rest of the season. The season started with Houston going 15- 17. Things simply didn’t look good at that point. Just prior to their 20-plus game-run, the Rockets were 10th in the Western Conference. But the club broke out with many team members playing beyond their potential.
The Rockets were best in the league in defending against the two-point shot. Overall, they were second in defensive efficiency. Their offensive efficiency was rated 17th. They were fine in offense but not spectacular when it came to scoring. The Rockets won their games with good “D.” The one thing they could not do as well as needed was force turnovers. Their depth off the bench was also first-rate. Once they hit the playoffs, the play of their point guards became inadequate and their durability issues were exposed. The lost the first two playoff games at home to Utah and were eliminated by the Jazz for the second year running.
The Rockets’ decision to trade with Sacramento for bad boy Ron Artest may have put them over the top as far as talent and skill is concerned. They gave up rookie Donte’ Green and Bobby Jackson for the talents of one of the best in the league. Rocket rookie power forward Joey Dorsey can defend and rebound. Aging guard Brent Barry, who’s 36 years old, was also signed by the team.
Front and center is seven-foot-six Yao. He played n just 55 games last season and still the Rockets excelled. What might they have done of he stayed healthy? Yao is one of the best in the paint. Last season, he averaged 10.8 RPG and 22.0 PPG. He hits 51% from the field and 85% from the charity stripe. Forward/center Luis Scola had a solid first year, averaging 10.3 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Artest, who has a tough competitive spirit, scored 20.5 PPG. Forward Shane Battier is durable. Last season, he put in 9.3 PPG and took down 5.1 RPG.
Guard Tracy McGrady, who notched 5.9 APG and 21.6 PPG, could be one of the best around. But this guy has to stay healthy or he’s no good to anyone. Plus, he talks a good game but rarely steps up when everything is on the line. Will he ever become a real leader? Guard Rafer Alston offered 13.1 PPG and 5.3 APG last season. He stands as the team’s point guard.
Add Artest to a line-up that includes Yao and McGrady and you’ve got dynamite on the court. Artest gives this club the edge in taking first-place in the Southwest and going deep in the playoffs. Coach Rick Adelman managed to get a superior effort from a decimated team last season. With everyone healthy, he may get these guys to the NBA Finals.