Forum Blue & Gold: This is the latest in a series here at FB&G that will run through the start of the season, focusing on some of the top teams in the West and maybe a couple from the East. Today we talk about the Houston Rockets.
Last Season Record: 55-27 (fifth seed, but had the fourth-best record, just two games back of the Lakers)
Last Playoffs: Lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round in six games
Offensive Rating: 106.8 (17th in the league)
Defensive Rating: 101.6 (2nd in the league)
It would be a clash of organizational philosophies if the Lakers and Rockets met deep in the playoffs this year. On one hand you have the Rockets, who have had Yao and McGrady in their fold for years, but it has been GM Daryl Morey who put many of the pieces around those two anchors to make a contender. Morey comes from a statistical analysis background, and the Rockets are the most stat-driven team in the league.
Earlier this summer I called Lakers spokesman John Black and said since basically every team how had an advanced stats guy, I was hoping to interview the Lakers one. Black’s answer: “Phil Jackson doesn’t believe in that.” And in the Laker front office right now, if Phil doesn’t believe in it, nobody does.
The philosophies may be different, but these franchises may have assembled the two best and deepest rosters in the NBA.
The Rockets were a 55-win team last year despite a serious amount of injuries, and in the off-season made maybe the biggest trade among the contenders, picking up Ron Artest from Sacramento. (What, you thought I was going to say Brent Barry?)