To say 2023 flew by would be an understatement. There was some good, there was some bad, and then there was the ugly, but things appear to be trending up for the Houston Rockets going into 2024.
To get the New Year started on a good foot, I’ve compiled a list of resolutions that would make 2024 a great year for Space City. They are as follows:
DO NOT lose to the Detroit Pistons
First and foremost, don’t do it. Don’t be the team. I don’t want to explain to my family why the Rockets had to be the team to get embarrassed.
Houston gets the first crack at the Pistons on New Year’s Day and I will cancel the rest of the season if that turns out to be an L. Regardless, it would be an awful loss even if Detroit manages to break their NBA record losing streak prior to the first Thompson Twins matchup.
Plus, for as much empathy that I feel for the Pistons right now, there’s still a sick twisted part of me that sorta wants to see how far they can take this.
So I am begging that the Rockets please go out and handle business.
Get Alperen Sengun to the All-Star Game
He’s worthy of serious All-Star consideration this season. It would also go a long way into establishing him as a more recognizable star in this league and hopefully, a perennial All-Star.
If I had one challenge for Sengun going into 2024, it would be for less pump faking on three-point attempts. If it’s not going to result in the defender biting on it and getting free throws, just fire away.
Boost Jalen Green’s value
Like most of us, I’d like to see Green get it going one way or another. He simply has to account for something if he’s still going to be in the starting lineup and average 30 minutes per game. Whether this is in regards to his value for the Rockets, or as the main asset in a future trade, it would be great to see him viewed in the light as a net-positive going forward.
Win more on the road
Houston has to bring the same energy on the road that they have shown at home thus far. There have been increasingly better moments away from the Toyota Center in December, but the Rockets will need to ratchet it up in 2024 if they hope to keep jockeying for playoff contention.
Utilize the rookies
I’m ready to see the training wheels taken off of Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore. The bench hasn’t been impressive enough to keep them from getting more opportunities. The projected injection of their athleticism and defensive potential is what made this team so fascinating to me coming into the season.
Stop fouling so much
Only the Pistons and the Indiana Pacers give up more free throws per game. 26 attempts is just too many chances for the other team to collect easy points. I get it, playing physical defense can translate to foul calls. However, there are too many talented defenders on this roster for Houston to rank in the bottom three.
Secure a top six seed
To be honest, I thought the Rockets were more so a play-in team than a playoff team entering 2023-24, but a top six seed is currently there for the taking. Only three games separate the 4-seed and the 11-seed right now and it would behoove Houston to claim one of those guaranteed spots. With the Western Conference not being quite the powerhouse it was made out to be, I don’t think this is too overzealous of a challenge given how the Rockets have exceeded expectations up to this point.