The Houston Rockets are in turmoil heading into the 2020 off-season. After Daryl Morey and Mike D'Antoni's departure, no one knows which path the franchise could take in the near future. NBA trade rumors have mooted a possibility of the Houston Rockets blowing up their core team and starting from scratch in the off-season.
Nevertheless, the franchise could have a few key decisions to make before the start of the next season.
NBA Trade Rumors: Three crucial decisions the Houston Rockets have to make this off-season
The Houston Rockets, who went all-in with the small-ball style of basketball last season, traded their starting center Clint Capela.
However, their lack of size in the paint was ruthlessly exposed by the LA Lakers in the playoffs, something that might make the Rockets rejig their strategies on the court.
Considering the same, let us have a look at three key decisions the Rockets have to make this off-season:
#1 Consider trading away Russell Westbrook
While there's no question about Russell Westbrook's camaraderie with James Harden off the court, his compatibility with the Beard on the court is still a question. Westbrook's inability to shoot the ball consistently was a liability for the Houston Rockets in the 2020 NBA playoffs.
As per NBA trade rumors, moving Westbrook's costly contract could be the only way for Houston to get another star who could help them compete for the championship. Even though the franchise's owner Tilman Fertitta has denied such rumors, the Rockets could be interested if an All-Star caliber player becomes available.
#2 Hire a defensive-minded coach
Houston Rockets' former coach Mike D'Antoni was one of the pioneers of small-ball basketball, and the Houston Rockets' offense flourished under him.
However, in the 2019-20 regular season, Houston had the 14th-best defensive ratings among the 16 playoff teams and struggled through the year to get defensive rebounds.
With the Houston Rockets' coaching job still lying vacant, hiring a defense-oriented coach could go a long way in turning around the franchise's fortunes in the playoffs next year.
#3 Acquire a conventional center
Houston Rockets traded away their best center Clint Capela back in February 2020 and resorted to small-ball basketball, with 6' 6" PJ Tucker as their starting center. While that helped create some space in their offense, the Rockets struggled at the defensive end while trying to contain other teams' centers.
With bigs like Serge Ibaka, Dwight Howard and Montrezl Harrell becoming free agents in the off-season. the Houston Rockets should make an effort to land a center to bolster their chances in the 2020-21 season.