Although the Houston Rockets weren't able to claw their way into this playoffs, this season should be considered a success for the young team.
In Kevin McHale's first year as head coach of the squad, he was able to lead them to 34-32 record. Plus Houston was in the thick of the playoff race up until the very end, with a late-season collapse sealing their fate (loss 3 of 7 to end the season).
They accomplished this even without Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin for stretches of the season.
On that note, Houston should still hold their heads up high, as next season seems to be a year where they can drastically improve on what they were able to accomplish this year.
Chandler Parsons will have a full training camp and offseason under his belt, and should improve even more on his surprising 9.5 points per game and 4.8 rebounds.
Marcus Camby will be ready for a full season.
Luis Scola, hopefully, will want to show he still has a little energy left in his legs.
Kyle Lowry will finally be healthy. (And if they can maintain Goran Dragic's contract, he will be a solid sixth man for them).
Those players aside, the Houston roster is filled with solid role players, veterans and up-and-coming youngsters. With a savvy coach and Hall-of-Famer in Kevin McHale, Houston should not worry about making too many changes this offseason.
For them, less change would be the best change.
In a recent interview for The Monitor in Texas, Kevin McHale spoke exclusively about what he expects from his team next year and also about where he hopes to see improvement:
We have to get more playmakers on the perimeter. Too much playmaking was left to Goran (Dragic) or Kyle (Lowry). We have to get more athletic up front. We have to get some more guys who can play above the rim, block shots and be able to run and move with some of the more athletic teams. … We need to play more of an up and down game, which at times, hurt us. We’ve got to get the guys we have better. That’s the least sexy of ways of getting better, but it’s the most sure. In free agency, there’s no assurance you are going to get the guys you want and the draft is such an inexact science, it’s ridiculous.
McHale addresses pretty much everything this young team needs. Obviously, he doesn't have much faith in what they can pull off in free agency or the draft. Athleticism is a definite, glaring need for this time, which they do get in Chase Budinger and a few others on the team.
But the most important thing the Rockets need to focus on was mentioned by McHale. They've got to get the guys they already have on the roster to improve. And they need to improve quickly in order to compete with a dramatically improving Western Conference.
That includes everyone on the roster. Patrick Patterson, Chandler Parsons and Courtney Lee all have to continue their steady increase in production.
Veterans like Samuel Dalembert, Camby, Martin and Lowry must show exactly what we know they can produce.
Marcus Morris must prove he's not a bust and show a little more Markieff.
If the Houston Rockets can pick up a playmaker in the draft (Kendall Marshall, Tony Wroten) or in free agency (Kirk Hinrich, Andre Miller), they would improve dramatically.
Other than that, it definitely wouldn't hurt to stand pat and see just what this young squad is capable of after a full training camp.
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