11-20 • 14th in WESTERN CONFERENCE
|G||28||$2,028,594||6' 3"||195 lbs||KANSAS|
|F||25||$1,645,357||6' 10"||214 lbs||UNLV|
|G||25||$9,600,000||6' 5"||214 lbs||N/A|
|F-G||27||$3,540,000||6' 6"||220 lbs||TEXAS A&M|
|G-F||28||N/A||6' 5"||219 lbs||CAL POLY-SAN OBISPO|
|G||32||$14,057,730||6' 3"||215 lbs||INDIANA|
|G||30||$19,169,800||6' 3"||210 lbs||KENTUCKY|
|C||23||N/A||6' 11"||241 lbs||CREIGHTON|
|F||20||N/A||6' 6"||215 lbs||N/A|
|G-F||20||$1,290,960||6' 4"||203 lbs||USC|
|F||35||$8,349,039||6' 5"||245 lbs||TEXAS|
|F||23||$1,699,236||6' 9"||228 lbs||N/A|
|G-F||26||$1,618,520||6' 5"||219 lbs||SMU|
|G||28||$21,000,000||6' 4"||213 lbs||INDIANA|
The Houston Rockets saw a dramatic transformation to their squad over the past couple of months, which culminated with former cornerstone superstar James Harden being sent over to the Brooklyn Nets. It took some time -- and a lot of drama -- but the Rockets finally got the deal done. In the process, Houston officially turned a page on their franchise as they look forward to a fresh start.
The Harden trade ended up being a four-team blockbuster deal, which involved the Nets, the Indiana Pacers, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. As part of the deal, the Rockets acquired Victor Oladipo, Rodions Kurucs, Dante Exum, four future first-round picks, and four pick swaps with Brooklyn.
Not long before the Harden deal, the Rockets also pulled a trigger on a trade that sent Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall, who himself spent the entirety of last season recovering from an Achilles injury.
Other major offseason departures for Houston include Robert Covington (traded to the Portland Trail Blazers), Jeff Green (free agent), DeMarre Carroll (free agent), Tyson Chandler (free agent), Luc Mbah a Moute (free agent), Austin Rivers (free agent), and Thabo Sefolosha (free agent).
With former head coach Mike D'Antoni out of the picture (as well as ex-GM Daryl Morey), the Rockets opted to veer away from their small-ball lineup. They added a couple of bigs to their lineup during the offseason in Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins.
After the whirlwind of transactions, it appears that the Rockets will now be rolling with a core of Wall, Oladipo, and Christian Wood. It goes without saying, however, that this could always change in an instant if Houston's front office decides to do a full reboot.
Exceptional offense has always been a trademark of Mike D'Antoni-led teams, and this was on full display yet again for the Rockets in 2019-20.
The Rockets were able to put up the second-most points in the entire league throughout the regular season with 117.8 points per contest. They were a close second to the league-best Milwaukee Bucks, who themselves averaged 118.7 points scored per game. Houston also played with the second-fastest pace in the NBA at 104.04 (again behind the Bucks).
The Rockets took 90.4 field goal attempts per contest, ranking eighth in the league. Their efficiency, however, left a lot to be desired, as they ranked 22nd in the NBA with an average field goal percentage of 45.1.
This is primarily brought about by the fact that Houston took a ton of three-pointers each game. Unsurprisingly, they led the league in this particular category with 45.3 heaves per contest. The Rockets drained 15.6 triples per game, which again ranked first in the entire NBA. They only made 34.5 percent of their attempts from distance, though, ranking 24th.
With James Harden and Russell Westbrook manning the backcourt, the Rockets played a lot of iso ball. As such, they only dished out 21.6 assists per game as a team, ranking 29th in the league. It will be interesting to see how that changes with John Wall replacing Westbrook this season.
In terms of turnovers, Houston was also a middle-of-the-pack team in 2019-20, averaging 14.7 turnovers per contest (16th in the league). For what it's worth, Harden and Westbrook averaged 4.5 turnovers per game apiece, combining for 61 percent of the team's total turnovers on a basis. This does not come as a huge surprise, considering their extremely high usage rates.
All in all, the Rockets logged an offensive efficiency rating of 113.7, good for sixth in the NBA.
Despite being a primarily offense-driven team under former head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Rockets were actually relatively good defensively for most of last season.
In terms of their defensive rating, the Rockets logged a 109.8 (15th in the NBA), which is actually not bad, all things considered. Despite being undersized, Houston averaged 34.5 defensive rebounds per game, which is 16th in the league.
They allowed an average of 14.1 second-chance points for their opponents, though, a lowly 27th in the NBA. Similarly, the Rockets allowed their opponents to score an average of 15.1 points on fast-break opportunities (27th). By affording their opponents with a height advantage more often than not, Houston allowed them to score 51.5 points in the paint per game, 26th in the league.
In total, the Rockets allowed their opponents to put up an average of 114.8 points per game, ranking 23rd in the entire NBA. Field goal-wise, Houston's opponents averaged 46.2 percent overall (17th), and 34.9 percent from distance (23rd). They also sent their opponents to the line 23.7 times per game (14th). The Rockets committed 21.0 fouls per game (12th).
The Rockets allowed the most total rebounds to their opponents per game with 47.9, which is again not surprising. They allowed their opponents to dish out 25.3 assists per game (23rd), while forcing an average of 16.2 turnovers per contest (3rd).
As you can see above, one of their strengths on the defensive end was forcing turnovers, with the Rockets averaging 8.7 steals per game (3rd in the league). Houston's 5.2 blocks per game ranked 10th in the NBA. A huge chunk of this came courtesy of Robert Covington, who himself averaged 2.2 blocks per game since arriving with the team in a mid-season trade.
The Rockets took a huge gamble in bringing in first-time head coach Stephen Silas as the successor to Mike D'Antoni. Then again, while this is Silas' first assignment as a head coach, he has been an assistant in the league for 19 seasons. He's had stints with a number of teams in the NBA, including the Dallas Mavericks most recently. Silas spent two seasons serving as an assistant to Rick Carlisle with the Mavs, and Silas is widely credited for playing a pivotal role in the development of Dallas' highly-touted offensive system.
The team’s new five new assistant coaches for the 2020-21 season are John Lucas, Jeff Hornacek, Will Weaver, Rick Higgins, and DeSagana Diop.
Houston's last signing came in the form of 6-foot-4 combo guard Jerian Grant, who served as a substitute player for the Washington Wizards last season. The Wizards signed the 28-year-old as a substitute for Davis Bertans, who was unable to join Washington in the bubble.
However, Grant was waived before the season. The Rockets' last major free agency signing was DeMarcus Cousins.
The Rockets brought in free agent Christian Wood to Houston in a sign-and-trade deal with the Detroit Pistons. The 6-foot-10 big man penned a three-year, $41 million deal. The Rockets' new look front office also signed veteran center DeMarcus Cousins, who is a former four-time All-Star.
Additionally, Houston also signed shooting guard Sterling Brown on a one-year deal worth $1.7 million.
Having limited cap room available, some other players who were linked to Houston during the offseason included Nerlens Noel, Marc Gasol, Aron Baynes, and Markieff Morris.
The Rockets took part in one of the biggest trades of the offseason. They sent Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall. The Rockets also acquired a 2023 first-round pick in the deal.
Westbrook, who was clearly unhappy with his role in Houston, demanded a trade, and the Rockets actually did a good job in finding a suitable trade partner for their want-away star.
Wall is coming off a season on the sidelines due to an Achilles injury, but he appears to be back to full strength again entering the 2020-21 campaign. Houston will absorb the three years remaining on Wall's current contract, which will cost them $133 million.
The Rockets have had many great players, but Hakeem Olajuwon has got to be our pick as the greatest Rockets player of all time.
Not many will argue with this notion, considering how the Hall of Famer led the team to its only two titles in franchise history (1994 & 1995). The 7-foot big man is a 12-time All-Star, a 12-time All-NBA team member, a nine-time All-Defensive team member, and a two-time Finals MVP winner.
Olajuwon led the league in rebounds on two separate occasions, and in blocks thrice. He is also one of three players in NBA history to have won the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award in the same season.
With Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington now out of the picture, it appears that new recruit Christian Wood is likely to emerge as Houston's third best player behind James Harden and John Wall.
Wood, who arrived in Houston as part of a sign-and-trade with the Detroit Pistons in the offseason, had a tremendous debut for the Rockets in their season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers. The 6-foot-10 big man logged a huge 31-point, 13-rebound double-double to go along with three assists and a block in 44 minutes of action.
Wood could be in line for a breakout campaign with the Rockets, and he is likely going to be a key piece to Houston's championship aspirations this season.
The Rockets parted ways with Russell Westbrook and the $41 million he is owed in 2020-21, but in return, they also took on John Wall, who is on a similar pay scale with Westbrook. Moreover, the Rockets also signed Christian Wood (via sign-and-trade) to a three-year deal, which starts with $13.0 million this season. Other big-earners this term include Eric Gordon ($16.9 million) and P.J. Tucker ($7.7 million).
Spotrac projects Houston's total cap to be at $137.5 million, which is a massive $28.4 million over the 2020-21 salary cap.
Eric Gordon has been Houston's most reliable option off the bench, and he's filled the role of the team's Sixth Man over the 2019-20 campaign. The 31-year-old battled through injuries last season, and he was able to suit up for just 36 regular season games for the squad.
Gordon was inserted into the starting lineup in the playoffs, with former coach Mike D'Antoni opting to shake things up. He figures to serve the same role under new head coach Stephen Silas in 2020-21.
When fully healthy, the Houston Rockets figure to send out a starting five of John Wall, James Harden, Danuel House, P.J. Tucker, and Christian Wood for the 2020-21 season. Both Eric Gordon and DeMarcus Cousins crack the starting lineup as the season progresses.