As promised, here’s your 2018-2019 predictions for this upcoming Houston Rockets season from your Dream Shake staff. We even have one extra-special guest dropping by his old stomping grounds to make a prediction for you (Hi, Ethan!).
There’s going to be some kinks to work out defensively — we’ve already seen a small glimpse of some of those lapses in the preseason, albeit without P.J. Tucker and Clint Capela — but the Rockets will be an absolute offensive juggernaut. Melo’s going to be good, so is James Ennis, and Houston has a cadre of role players, which includes some young talent, that will allow them to mix and match, while healthy, with any team in the league. And that’s the key, isn’t it? Injuries. Stay healthy, and this will be the best team in the Association come money time. I truly believe that.
I do think we could see a slightly uneven start to the year, with the Rockets grabbing a few unexpected losses early, before settling into a groove that sees them approach, but not match last year’s win total. They’ll grab the second seed this year, but by the playoffs, they’ll be cruising and hopefully ready to seal the deal. Prediction: 58-24.
- Darren Yuvan
The Rockets may not win 65 games like they did a year ago, but they will enter the Playoffs with homecourt advantage.
This team is better on the offensive end with Carmelo Anthony inserted in place of Ryan Anderson. The upgrade on offense is most certainly there. The acquisitions made in the offseason to help on the defensive side of the ball in James Ennis III and Michael Carter-Williams will play better than fans and experts think because neither player has been in a better fit at any other previous stop in their careers. MCW will have his best season since his ROY campaign and Ennis will shine.
As for the team’s superstars, Clint Capela will elevate closer to the level of CP3 and Harden, who have a lot more help and depth on this squad than they did last season, giving them more breathing room and chances to rest to put this team in the best spot possible to overtake the Warriors as the best team in the NBA. Prediction: 61-21
- Jeremy Brener
I’ll make this prediction because the world is full of cowards and nobody else will. Call me a contrarian. Call me a giddy optimist. Call me first when you have a lot of cash you want to spend quickly. The Rockets will surpass their win total from last season. I know, the Rockets lost a player that no one realized was All-NBA, until he left town, in Trevor Ariza. They lost another who was just another veteran minimum, over-30 wing looking for a deal, until he played in Houston, in Luc Mbah a Moute. They’ll survive those losses, and build on their great ‘17-’18 season, with James Ennis and various other players taking up the slack.
The team has added a ton of guys who are: younger, taller, faster, and have real upside. The effective core of the team, minus Ariza, remains the same, but the bench is now deeper. There’s addition by subtraction with Anderson, and there are several new players the Rockets think they can rehabilitate. Their record of doing so is mostly good. Remember, Ariza signed a sweetheart deal a few years back because no one offered him more money. If the Rockets can get the best out of Ariza, might they also get the best out of a HoFer in Carmelo Anthony? I say, yes, they can and they will. Prediction: 67-15.
Winning games is hard- it does not matter the sport. Winning a lot of games is even harder. A lot of things have to go in your favor, and you have to get a lot of calls going your way. Last year, the Rockets won a lot of games. And not “a lot” as in 60 wins- where you can argue if that’s a lot or not- but 65 wins. Sixty five is where you can say, “Wow, if a couple of calls would’ve have gone their way, they’d probably be at 70.” Or, “if they would have been healthy X number of games, they definitely would have had 70.” It’s a really difficult number to hit.
I know the focus here is on the arbitrary argument of what is a lot of wins and how you can actually win or lose because of the luck of the draw, but there’s a point to this. I don’t think the Rockets will win 65 or more games. Not because they’re worse of a team this year, but because 65 wins is a lot. I actually think this team is better than last year.
There’s meshing that needs to work out still. The core is different. I wouldn’t be surprised if some key guys get rest down the stretch because you don’t want to risk injury in the playoffs. The Rockets are playing for the postseason and seeding. It’s not about the record, it’s about the ring. Don’t get it mistaken, though. They’re still shooting for the first seed, but the second seed will do just fine for them too. Prediction: 60-22.
- Conrad Garcia
The Rockets won’t win 65 games, but they won’t be far off either. With Chris Paul healthy to begin the year, so far (/knocks furiously on wood /goes to bandage damaged knuckles), the Rockets should avoid the relatively slow start they had last year. I don’t need to tell you the win stat of Harden, Paul and Capela, but it covered fewer than half the team’s games last year. As long as that trio can play more than 60 games together, this team’s floor is insanely low. There are pitfalls, to be sure, but Mike D’Antoni teams just win regular season games. They always have. It’s what comes after that remains a titillating mystery. Prediction: 59-23
Will the Rockets win 60+ games again this season?
This poll is closed
Yes, book it
Not this year, 60+ is a tough get