By: Rahat Huq
While at the 2017 MIT Sloan Conference, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told thedreamshake.com that his team's title window is now:
“Over a time horizon of about two to four years, we’re looking for the best chance to win the title,” Morey told TDS in an exclusive interview. “Right now, how we’re built, we feel like that’s our best chance.”
It's important to note that prior to October, most, including myself, did not believe Houston's title window had even begun. Will it extend four years? Looking at the roster, the only major rotation pieces above 30 are Lou Williams (30), Trevor Ariza (31), and Nene (34). Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson are all 28. Clint Capela is 22, Sam Dekker is 22, and Montrezl Harrell is 23. James Harden, most importantly, is 27.
Harden, naturally, is the most determinative factor in assessing the team's window. I've argued previously that the shift to point guard should actually prolong his career as, even when some of the loss of athleticism leads to a decline in scoring ability, he'll still have a superstar impact on the game through his passing. But as we saw last season, the supplemental pieces can be just as important. Can Patrick Beverley, the man I've called this team's 'heart and soul', sustain his style of play as he approaches age 30? Can the good luck that has kept Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon healthy continue? Shooting is an absolute must for this system to work. And of most immediate concern, how much more does Trevor Ariza have in the tank?
The Rockets will need to continue developing youth to ensure a steady pipeline of talent - they've done that on the frontline. But K.J. McDaniels, the intended Ariza heir apparent, flamed out; Sam Dekker is actually a backup power forward. Even in the present, the team is thin on the wings. I'm also hoping they continue nurturing Kyle Wiltjer as an eventual Anderson replacement. I think they found something there.
These worries may seem unwarranted. After all, Morey always finds talent on the cheap. But from the lessons learned last season, it's imperative that its the right talent and that it all fits.