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Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies preseason game preview

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NBA: Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Much like the University of Texas football team, we’re back.

Except unlike UT, we’re back for real.

The Houston Rockets start their quest for an NBA championship tonight in Houston Memphis Birmingham, Alabama. It will be Houston fans’ first chance to see some of the new acquisitions in Rockets red.

The headliner of the group is obviously Carmelo Anthony, acquired as a free agent this summer for a minimum deal after securing a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks. Daryl Morey has been after Melo for years, and tonight he’ll finally see those efforts fully realized on a college basketball court. I’ve expressed optimism regarding Melo’s outlook with the Rockets, and I’ll certainly be watching with a close eye.

Obviously, Melo isn’t the only new toy for Mike D’Antoni and his staff. A lot has been made of James Ennis III and how he fits into this squad as a Trevor Ariza replacement. His transition into that role will be vital to Houston’s success this season. Plus, Ennis has to like the fact that he’s playing the same role as a guy making $15 million this season. If Ennis plays his cards right, he could be moving up a tax bracket or two next summer.

Michael Carter-Williams and Marquese Chriss are less heralded additions, but MCW looks to be the fourth guard that Houston didn’t have last season and Chriss will try to right his career after underwhelming in Phoenix.

Local boy Rob Gray could get some run tonight, as could draft picks Zhou Qi and Isaiah Hartenstein. Vincent Edwards, Gary Clark, and Bruno Caboclo are the other new faces in Houston.

Much will be made of this game despite any caveat I provide, but remember to take everything with a grain of salt. We’re unlikely to see how the rotation will play out since we’re unlikely to see any major pieces on the floor in the second half. Even if Melo starts, will he play heavy minutes in the first quarter or will he play like Chris Paul did last season and go to the bench early in order to help run the second unit? Maybe he’ll go 0-20, but despite what “Russ4Prez420” on Reddit says, that doesn’t mean the entire season is lost for Houston.

Oh, and we get to see James Harden play basketball again. And that’s pretty freaking sweet. He is the best, after all.

Tip-off is at 7pm CT