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Daryl Morey thinks Rockets are the favorite, shooting for No. 1 seed

Daryl Morey, Rockets

With close to a month before the start of the new NBA season, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is going into this new campaign thinking his team is the favorite, always shooting for the top seed in the West despite a wild change on many rosters.

Both Los Angeles teams, the Denver Nuggets, the Portland Trail Blazers and the revamped Utah Jazz can make legitimate claims at the crown, but Morey is unequivocally hellbent that the Rockets are going into 2019-20 as the favorite to win it:

“Yes. We’re favorites. But as usual, there is some very tough competition: Clippers, Lakers, Utah,” Morey told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “Then I’d say people are probably underrating Golden State still. We have a healthy respect for them. But we go in shooting for the No. 1 seed.”

Morey has always been confident about his team going into the start of the season, but take a look back less than one calendar year and the Rockets were off to an 11-14 record through the first 25 games, which made them the 14th of 15 teams in the West, following a 65-win season in 2017-18.

The Rockets have also been stopped in their tracks by their Western Conference kryptonite, twice in a row and four times in the last five years exiting the playoffs at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, who are now going through a re-hash period after losing Kevin Durant and waiting on Klay Thompson’s impending recovery from a torn ACL.

Morey isn’t shying away from admitting defeat, but he claims it’s championship or bust from now on:

“That’s how we’ve measured success the past few seasons, so I guess we’ve been a bust,” said Morey. “Yeah, we’re just focused on one thing.”

The road to the NBA Finals is now more open than it has been in the past half-decade, but Morey will need the new duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden to cash the checks for him eventually, or else this could be yet another year of false promises and no delivery.