Mike D’Antoni isn’t lacking for confidence as his Houston Rockets look to avenge their Western Conference Finals loss last season. The Rockets completely flamed out against the Golden State Warriors after taking a 3-2 lead in the series. Chris Paul’s injury may have been the difference in the series and had he remained healthy, the Rockets could be the defending champions.
But that didn’t happen. Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute left in free agency. Carmelo Anthony looks to replace the production of the pair. Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight were acquired, while Ryan Anderson was finally sent packing.
But despite all the offseason moves, Mike D’Antoni believes his team is better this year than it was last year. At least that’s what general manager Daryl Morey says:
This sentiment isn’t shared by many outside of Houston. The losses of Ariza and Mbah a Moute are going to hurt on the defensive end. Melo can make up for that production on the offensive end, but he’s a complete liability defensively.
That being said, the team is centered around the trio of James Harden, Chris Paul, and Clint Capela. All three are back for their second season together, so the chemistry between the three should improve. The Rockets are sure to be one of the best teams in the NBA even with the changes.
However, the Warriors added an All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins. There’s no guarantee the Rockets are better next season, but even if they are, it will take a lot to catch the Warriors.