The Golden State Warriors’ lethal duo of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant still see the Houston Rockets as the biggest threat in the Western Conference, despite a rough start to the season. Houston has gotten off to an unsuspected 1-5 start, with injuries and different personnel causing all sorts of problem early on.
“I mean (you) understand with Houston, what they bring to the table, and how difficult that series was last year,” Curry told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “They’re a different team, but they still have James and CP. You never know how that will shape up.
Yeah, in terms of (top threats), yeah (it’s Houston). They were right there with us in the West until Game 7, and we obviously know what kind of threat they pose.”
Durant agreed with the sentiment, offering that the loss of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah A Moute have had an effect early on (Rockets were 1-3 at the time of this interview), but not enough to derail them from contention.
“Obviously everybody is saying the defense (will be hurt by Ariza being gone) but I look at (how) it’s his quick trigger on the 3-pointers,” said Durant. “I think that’s something that was a luxury for them, having Trevor when they want to kick it ahead for a fast shot, just to kind of speed the game up and control the pace, they kick it to Trevor and he’s shooting a quick three. And then he’s getting back on defense. I think that’s what they’re going to miss from him the most. And then they’ve got ‘Melo, who can do the same. You’ve got Ennis, who can do the same. And you’ve got PJ Tucker, who’s shooting it at an incredible rate this season, last year too.
Yeah, (Tucker) is a sniper. He shot it well in the playoffs (a team-best 47 percent from beyond the arc). I think they set him up for corner threes a lot, and he’s been making them, and he’s been confident. I think he just loves the situation that he’s in in Houston. It feels like they’ve just got a family atmosphere down there where they’re starting to build a culture there, and you’re seeing the success, so I think they’re a team obviously that — as you’ve seen last year — that’s going to give us some problems.”
The Rockets will have to adjust, but they have the experience and the coaching to navigate those murky waters and get in front of the West. While their defense surely takes a hit after losing two of their best perimeter defenders, Houston has the sheer firepower to be among the top four in the conference when it’s all said and done.