The Rockets kick off the preseason tonight in McAllen, Texas, against the defending Western Conference Champions the Oklahoma City Thunder.
There isn't much we know about this team. We know they're young. We know Royce White won't be there tonight.
But in terms of youth, the OKC Thunder were here once too. Granted, their picks were much more hyped than ours are, but the parallels are there for all to see.
So here's a condensed version of the matchups for tonight, with the caveat that it's preseason. Some players may not play at all.
PG: Russell Westbrook vs. Jeremy Lin
Well look at that! J-Lin (yeah that's not going to work for me) takes on one of the top point guards in the league immediately upon arrival. On paper, Westbrook is everything that Jeremy Lin isn't: proven over a longer time period, quick, long, consistent with a jump shot. I'm more intrigued to see Lin on defense tonight than I am to see how he runs an offense that he only recently learned.
SG: Kevin Martin vs. James Harden
I've liked James Harden for a while now, but tonight isn't about him, so it's Speed Racer! How does he fit in this offense now? Which K-Mart are we going to get in 2012-2013? We'll get our first glimpse tonight.
SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Kevin Durant
The unquestioned leader. The incredible player. The future of the NBA.
Oh, and Kevin Durant is there too.
PF: Patrick Patterson vs. Serge Ibaka
In a perfect world, Patterson develops into Ibaka with a post game. It's P-Patt's first test as a starter.
C: Omer Asik vs. Cole Aldrich
If I were doing advantages, this is the only one where the Rockets would hold a (slight) edge. Asik's first game for the good guys is something to be excited about. I think we're going to love this guy. Perkins is hurt, that's why he's not playing.
Players to Watch: OKC Thunder
James Harden: I like him a lot. That's never been a secret. But he's the only starter on this list.
Perry Jones III: Because Pancakes needs a reason to watch tonight.
Hasheem Thabeet: Just kidding. But seriously though.
Players to Watch: Houston Rockets
I could list all five starters, but that defeats the purpose.
Gary Forbes: Apparently he's killing it right now. However, he might be the odd man out.
Jeremy Lamb: How does he fit? Questions here, but a lot of hope, too.
Scott Machado: I've barely seen him play. Some Summer League, some highlights from college. Otherwise, he's an unknown to me. Is he capable of being the backup, or is he a third stringer?