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3 big questions facing the Houston Rockets ahead of an important off-season for James Harden and crew

What does the future hold for James Harden and the Houston Rockets
What does the future hold for James Harden and the Houston Rockets
Vivek Parimi
ANALYST
Modified 13 Sep 2020, 22:12 IST
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After their thrashing at the hands of the LA Lakers, the Houston Rockets head back home after yet another disappointing showing in the playoffs. James Harden and company have much to work on as they head into the off-season. The Houston Rockets have many decisions to make, starting with picking a head coach for next season.

In this article, we list out 3 major questions for the Houston Rockets this off-season.


#1 Will the Houston Rockets give up on their small-ball strategy?

James Harden in action for the Houston Rockets
James Harden in action for the Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets went all-in on their small-ball style of basketball since February this year, when they traded away Clint Capela. While they had great success with that style of play in the regular season, they came up short once again in the playoffs.

Without a defense presence in the paint, bigger teams have bulldozed past them to score in the interior in the playoffs. While James Harden and company have shot more three-pointers than any team in the NBA this season, they were unable to get past the LA Lakers in the Western Conference Semifinals.

This begs the question as to whether small-ball can ever get the Houston Rockets to win an NBA title. The Houston Rockets must think long and hard about how they want to proceed after this season's setbacks.


#2 Will the Houston Rockets trade Russell Westbrook this off-season?

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Will the Houston Rockets trade Russell Westbrook this offseason?
Will the Houston Rockets trade Russell Westbrook this offseason?

Russell Westbrook is set to earn over $120 million over the next three years. This is a massive contract that the Houston Rockets took up last year when they traded Chris Paul to the OKC Thunder.

Russell Westbrook has not been the best fit for James Harden and the Houston Rockets' system of three-pointer based offense. Westbrook primarily scores by driving to the basket or shooting mid-range jump shots, and he has struggled with his three-point shot this season.

As the superstar ages, his athleticism will decline, which could make him a liability for the Houston Rockets since he is not a great shooter. While Westbrook shows no signs of slowing down yet, the Houston Rockets could look to trade him early while his value is still high.

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Although the Houston Rockets are unlikely to trade the superstar, they might want to consider the possibility of finding great parts to go along with James Harden next season by trading Westbrook this off-season.


Also Read: NBA Trade Rumors: Houston Rockets reportedly interested in hiring Jeff Van Gundy to replace Mike D'Antoni


#3 Will the Houston Rockets extend Mike D'Antoni's contract?

Have we seen the last of Mike D
Have we seen the last of Mike D'Antoni with the Houston Rockets

Coach Mike D'Antoni's contract with the Houston Rockets is up right now and GM Daryl Morey has to choose whether or not to give him another go.

Mike D'Antoni has proven himself as a capable coach and has made the Houston Rockets one of the best offensive teams in the league. In the playoffs this year, he also helped the Rockets become formidable defensively despite their small size.

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There definitely is merit in giving D'Antoni another shot with the Houston Rockets after their performance in the NBA bubble, but will Tilman Fertitta be willing to offer him another chance after his failures in the past?

The Houston Rockets might look to a new coach to find a way to get them to their first NBA title since 1995.

We look forward to seeing what the Houston Rockets decide to do this off-season to best equip the team to win a title next year.


Also Read: NBA News Update: James Harden stresses the need for another star, LeBron James says he's "always been a winner"


Published 13 Sep 2020, 22:12 IST
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