As of today (12/12/2013), the eastern conference has a grand total of two teams with winning records - Miami and Indiana - and three teams with a positive +/-, with the 11-11 Atlanta Hawks at +0.1 points per game. What a slopfest. What's going on? Everyone in the East wants a superstar from the upcoming draft's loaded class. The problem with this idea is of course that tanking is a game theory issue - it's only helpful if you're bad RELATIVE to the other teams. If everyone is horrible, everyone loses. Add in the lottery and you're talking about a very non-useful strategy in the long term statistically.
So we should be even more worshipful of our wonderful front office, as Daryl Morey has managed to keep the Rockets relevant throughout the post-Yao years without tanking in a loaded west (11 teams with positive +/-) AND add one of those bona-fide draft stars without actually drafting him in the Harden trade.
I don't really know how this post directly relates to the good guys' current situation, except that because so many teams are operating under perverse incentives (getting worse is good, etc) I expect Morey to continue to be able to operate by making trades on the margins that continue to add value to the team. Let the wheeling and dealing continue!