With training camp days away, SI.com has started putting out their list of the top 100 players. It's pretty easy to say James Harden is a top 100 player, that's a no-brainer. The question is how does the SI view the rest of the Rockets’ team.
Drum roll, please.....
No. 89: Ryan Anderson
He slots in SI's list ahead of Kent Bazemore, who the Rockets tried very hard to sign when free agency officially kicked off. At 89, Anderson falls from his 72 ranking last season and he slots in right behind Enes Kanter.
SI says: “Leave him unattended and Anderson, a career 37.7% three-point shooter, will burn you from the perimeter or spring inside for offensive rebounds. Stationing him on the outside is a simple way to force an opponent into compromise.”
TDS says: The Rockets have been chasing Anderson forever. He won't give you tons of defense which is why he is rated lower than his offensive value would suggest. Expect it to be raining threes when the season starts.
No. 81: Trevor Ariza
A pretty steep fall for Ariza who last year they rated as the #65 best player in the NBA. He comes in ahead of big men Andrew Bogut and Robin Lopez and just right below Rudy Gay, who the Rockets have been linked to.
SI says: “Ariza isn’t quite as athletic as he once was, but through length and persistence alone he makes for a solid defender across three positions.”
TDS says: Ariza is what you call a pro, he doesn't go outside of his game and he knows who he is. At this point in his career, he's a 3-and-D player and embraces it.
No. 79: Clint Capela
Pretty much an unknown to the rest of the NBA last year and now he's this high and ahead of a lot of "name brand" centers.
SI says: “Capela has shown no interest in calling for the ball in the post. He screens and he rolls, over and over, to keep the offense flowing. When the ball comes his way, Capela has the hands to make catches on the move and finish strong at the rim.”
TDS says: Capela is like Dwight Howard in so many ways, and in other ways, he's nothing like him. The Swiss Roll offers the same athleticism that younger Howard had, and he doesn't have any of the baggage that the former Rockets center had.
Patrick Beverley, Eric Gordon, and Nene did not see their names listed on SI's top 100. Although Gordon and Nene both made SI's notable omissions list, so they probably rank around 101 to 120 in SI's mind.
The team is full of offensive talent, they should be very fun to watch this upcoming season.
Dwight Howard was No. 34 in the rankings, and while many Rockets fans are relieved that he’s not on the team this season, his placement is a reminder that it’s a loooong gap between, Harden and the rest of the team in terms of talent and their perception around the league. It’s a mild surprise — but not by much when you visualize the games last year — that Capela now ranks in one reputable publications’ eyes as the second-best player on the Rockets.