Written By Nicolas Papa (7-15-20)
I truly feel like every year since the Rockets became a viable contender in the West people have been having this conversation, the Houston Rockets need to win this season, and every season they disappoint. Let’s take a look at their last 6 seasons in the playoffs.
- 2014- 4th seed, 1st round loss Vs Portland Trailblazers in 5 games
- 2015- 2nd seed, Conference finals loss Vs Golden State Warriors in 5 games
- 2016- 8th seed, 1st round loss Vs Golden State Warriors in 5 games
- 2017- 3rd seed, 2nd round loss Vs San Antonio Spurs in 6 games
- 2018- 1st seed, Conference finals loss Vs Golden State Warriors in 7 games
- 2019- 4th seed, 2nd round loss Vs Golden State in 6 games
The Rockets have had multiple opportunities to advance to an NBA Finals but they couldn’t get it done. The ones that must sting the most are 2018 & 2019. In 2018 Chris Paul got injured and couldn’t compete in game 7. But that’s not even the biggest part of the story. The Rockets missed 27 straight 3s and shot an abysmal 7-44 from the three. This game was winnable even without the services of Chris Paul. In 2019 Kevin Durant got injured in game 5 and down 3-2 the Rockets couldn’t capitalize on the advantage they had losing in game 6. Daryl Morey had enough and sent Chris Paul to OKC in exchange for James Hardens old running mate Russel Westbrook. With the 2020 season possibly being the last chance to win a championship the Rockets have gone all out. They even decided to adopt a new style of small ball with 6’5 PJ Tucker starting at center. But if the Rockets can’t win this season I can’t see a scenario where they have another shot. The Western Conference is only improving with teams like the Lakers, Clippers, & Nuggets looking to stay on top for the foreseeable future and teams like the Mavericks, Thunder, & Pelicans looking to become a force in the West soon. We also can’t forget about the Warriors with everyone returning from injury and the assets of a top draft pick along with Andrew Wiggins. That’s why the Rockets need to win right now. If Westbrook and Harden can’t lead this team to at least an NBA Finals appearance this season it might be the last season they play together. Morey could look to go the OKC route and acquire draft picks and valuable young players by trading Harden or Westbrook, maybe even the both of them. Can the Houston Rockets get it done this season or will we see them go straight into rebuild mode after the season.