Houston Rockets: How They Have Re-Tooled Their Front-Court
The Houston Rockets are in a strange place. They have become one of the biggest headlines of the NBA off-season and not necessarily for the best reasons. Russell Westbrook reportedly wants out and James Harden is also said to be wanting out of Houston and prefers to go to the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets will most likely trade Westbrook, but they still have leverage over Harden considering he is still under contract for a couple more seasons. Also, there is a glimmer of hope. The Rockets know the small-ball experiment was a failure. As a result, they have invested in a couple of key free-agent big men to start rebuilding their front-court. However, they have done a better job than expected filling in the power forward and center positions.
Houston Rockets: The Additions To Their Front-Court
Houston Rockets: Their New Power Forward
Perhaps one of the more notable names in this season’s free agency was Christian Wood. Wood has become a solid power forward throughout the years. He started off his career as a project but has developed into a solid, young player with a healthy upside. Last season, he was one of the few bright spots for the struggling Detroit Pistons as he put up numbers of 13.1 points, 6.3 total rebounds, and an effective field goal percentage of 62.0 percent, by far the highest total of his career.
Not to mention, Wood has become a very versatile weapon. He can obviously play at the power forward position, but also play small stretches as a center. Wood is coming off his fifth career year, so he has plenty of time in this league left barring any injuries. The Houston Rockets were able to acquire the UNLV product for three years and $41 million. Even if Harden does leave, Wood can be a glimmer of hope for the future of the Rockets’ organization.
The Rockets’ New Center
DeMarcus Cousins is going to get another shot. Despite dealing with injuries the last couple of seasons, the Rockets are taking a chance and bringing in the former four-time All-Star to solidify their front-court. While Cousins has had his problems, both in the locker room and on the court, he is still an immediate upgrade. Especially considering the Rockets refused to play a true center, an experiment which was a complete failure.
The Rockets know they are not getting prime Boogie, which is why they were able to sign him to a one-year deal. Cousins has not played an actual game since the 2018-19 season, so it may be a bit of an adjustment for him. However, despite his role changing over the years, he is still a great center. In his lone season with the Warriors, he averaged 16.3 points, 8.2 total rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 30 games played. IF the Rockets are able to retain Harden and/or Westbrook, then this projected Houston starting lineup is one of the most underrated squads constructed in this year’s free agency. We will see if this new-look lineup will pay off for this high-powered offensive Rockets team.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images