I noted yesterday that, with training camp already having begun, it wasn’t too difficult to forget that at this time last year, Jeremy Lin was the best player on the Houston roster. Indeed, the Rockets acquired two top-10 players within the span of nine months. I wondered aloud if there were comparable instances in history of such total and thoroughly impressive rebuilding. The example which immediately came to mind was the Boston Celtics’ draft night acquisition of both Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. But, just rookies, neither of those players was at the level of either unit of the Rockets’ duo.
Several of you immediately cited the Boston acquisitions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and the Miami Heat’s heisting of Lebron James and Chris Bosh. But Allen wasn’t a top-10 player and in my opinion, neither was Bosh. Then again, as several of you noted, neither was Harden at the point of acquisition.
Setting that aside, which was the most impressive overhaul? The Heat’s heist took over a year of preparation (not to mention possible tampering) while the Celts’ required some delicate cajoling of Garnett. But in both those cases, the difference was that those teams already had a resident superstar. As we know, and learned this summer, that makes things infinitely easier. While the Heat’s moves had the greatest magnitude (Lebron James wins any list), the Rockets’ respective trade and signings of Harden and Howard stands, in my opinion, as the most impressive. They literally had to build it from scratch.