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ESPN predicts Rockets for 11th place in Western Conference

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Lottery for Houston this season?

NBA: Preseason-San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Boy, ESPN is really piling it on at the moment. In addition to the damning report about the Houston Rockets enabling James Harden and bad behavior over the last eight seasons, they’ve also released their season predictions along with projected won-loss records, and the Rockets don’t fare too well there either.

ESPN seems to think the Rockets have too many question marks in order to succeed, including John Wall’s health and Harden’s buy-in, and as a result, they are projecting the Rockets for a 30-42 record (truncated season) and 11th place in the Western Conference, ahead of only the San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, and Oklahoma City Thunder. They had this to say:

The Rockets have a shot to be better than just decent, particularly if James Harden buys in and John Wall is healthy and returns to form. But right now, our panel isn’t anticipating that outcome.

Short write up, pretty dismissed, and honestly, that’s just fine by me. The Rockets seem to play better when they’re underestimated, and what I’ve seen so far in the preseason doesn’t look like a 30-win team, and that’s with Harden barely there for camp and newest big free agent Christian Wood not even playing yet.

The only way this team sees the bottom of the conference is if Harden gets traded or goes completely no-effort and sabotages the team, which I don’t see happening, because he will sabotage his own trade value right along with it if he’s still looking to get out.

Even if John Wall is hurt, we’ve seen in the past that The Beard is a playoff team all by himself, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

Here are your full ESPN projected standings with accompanying records:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers: 49-23
  2. Los Angeles Clippers: 46-26
  3. Denver Nuggets: 45-27
  4. Dallas Mavericks: 43- 29
  5. Utah Jazz: 43-29
  6. Portland Trail Blazers: 41-31
  7. Phoenix Suns: 40-32
  8. New Orleans Pelicans: 36-36
  9. Golden State Warriors: 36-36
  10. Memphis Grizzlies: 33-39
  11. Houston Rockets: 32-40
  12. San Antonio Spurs: 31-41
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves: 28-44
  14. Sacramento Kings: 28-44
  15. Oklahoma City Thunder: 21-51

So what do you guys think about all that? I personally had the Rockets for fourth overall in the West in SB Nation’s NBA preview. That’s provided that Harden stays in town. If he gets traded, of course, all bets are off, but if he remains, I don’t see how the Rockets aren’t competing for the top half of the West.

Poll

In your opinion, how accurate is Houston’s placement on ESPN’s list?

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Too Low
    (465 votes)
  • 4%
    Too High
    (24 votes)
  • 14%
    Just About Right
    (84 votes)
573 votes total Vote Now