Jeremy Lin: Linsanity Won't Propel Houston Rockets into Playoffs
It's just too bad that the story will only last for 82 games.
If the Rockets couldn't make the playoffs last year, how are they going to make them this year? The team couldn't get it done with the two-headed monster of Kyle Lowry and Goran Dragic at the point while Luis Scola was still on the roster.
Now, Scola is gone—a fresh victim of the amnesty clause. Lowry and Dragic have departed as well. Plus, Marcus Camby and Chase Budinger are both no longer with the team.
Replacing them are Lin (most likely), Omer Asik (potentially), Shaun Livingston, Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman, Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White.
Even if Kevin Martin actually stays healthy this year, there's no shot at a return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-2009 season.
Houston was just two games behind the Utah Jazz for the final spot in the Western Conference last season, but they'll be well in back of that mark this season. Jeremy Lin is good, but he's not that good.
This Rockets roster has a lot of intriguing young players, but they're all raw and inexperienced. Depending on Chandler Parsons, Marcus Morris and the trio of first-rounders from the 2012 NBA draft isn't a recipe for success in this upcoming season.
To make the playoffs, the Rockets have to hop over one of the eight incumbent teams:
- San Antonio Spurs: a lock, even if they hadn't re-signed Tim Duncan (which they did).
- Oklahoma City Thunder: a lock with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden all still on the roster.
- Los Angeles Lakers: a lock, especially after adding Steve Nash.
- Memphis Grizzlies: a lock, as the team is only going to improve with the sole loss being O.J. Mayo (that might not be a loss).
- Los Angeles Clippers: a lock, since Blake Griffin is only getting better and the management keeps adding pieces.
- Denver Nuggets: a lock, since the myriad young players are only improving.
- Dallas Mavericks: not quite a lock, but chances are good following the acquisitions of Darren Collison, Elton Brand and Chris Kaman.
- Utah Jazz: not a lock, but a good bet with the expected maturation of Alec Burks, Enes Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors, as well as the addition of Mo and Marvin Williams.
On top of that, the Rockets have to avoid being hopped over by the other lottery teams from the Western Conference:
- Phoenix Suns: improved despite the loss of Steve Nash, thanks to the additions of Michael Beasley, Goran Dragic and Luis Scola.
- Portland Trail Blazers: luck can't get any worse for this team.
- Minnesota Timberwolves: poised to make a BIG leap, health pending.
- Golden State Warriors: see Timberwolves, Minnesota.
- Sacramento Kings: going to improve, given how many good, young players are on the roster.
- New Orleans Hornets: unibrow fever, healthy Eric Gordon and a bevy of new players will lead to a big improvement.
If you read all of that, there's no way you can feel confident about the Rockets making the playoffs.
Of course, that all changes if Dwight Howard is brought into the picture.
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