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How many games will the Houston Rockets win this season?

Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve written a season preview before each campaign.  This is not that.  I don’t know enough about this team to even try and preview it.  So on that point, we’ll wait until a few preseason games are under the team’s belt…or at least until I’m able to actually watch one.

For now, my interest is the early predictions, from the few things we know.

What we know:

  • Kevin Martin will be on the team and will have a role.
  • The starting lineup will be Lin, Martin, Parsons, Asik, and Patterson.
  • There is no “veteran presence” on this team, in the usual meaning of that phrase.  Kevin Martin is an older player but not a mentor figure.
  • There is no continuity.  This team is starting from scratch.  No chemistry is being carried over from last season.
  • The coach is relatively new.

What we think we know:

  • Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Jones seem to be the real deal.  At the least, they will be in the rotation.
  • Jeremy Lin will have the ball in his hands.
  • Royce White will be at a disadvantage.
  • Omer Asik is, at the very least, a competent starting center.  He will anchor the defense.

What we need to find out:

  • Has Marcus Morris improved?  Those who actually were able to watch the game the other night reported improvement.  This team essentially has 5 rookies.
  • How long will it take Motiejunas to adjust?  Recall that Luis Scola struggled for much of his rookie season before adapting to the NBA game.  If Motiejunas does not produce early, that does not mean he is a bust.
  • Will Royce White even crack the rotation?  Right now, he’s projected to be a ‘4’, a position also filled by Marcus Morris and Terrence Jones, in addition to Patterson and Motiejunas.  I fear White might not ever catch up and be the odd man out.
  • Will Patrick Patterson bounce back?  He was putrid offensively last season.  If he can’t regain his rookie form, he will be ousted from the starting lineup.
  • How will the team look defensively?  In Parsons and Asik, they have two elite defenders in their starting lineup.  Patterson is, at the least, very good (though I’d contest he’s elite as a help defender.).  Martin is bad.  And it can go either way on Lin, depending on your perspective.  Most importantly, there is no chemistry, and the biggest determinant in defensive prowess is team communication and cohesion.

So what do you think?  Right now, I think they can win anywhere from 30-35 games.  They have too much talent to be horrible but I don’t see this team being good.  Still, we’re only one game in.

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About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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