The Houston Rockets' roster has a new look this season, and it brings about the possibility of a different path to redeeming contender status.
In their latest effort to acquire a superstar, the Rockets made a number of moves that replaced their veteran core with young talent. Players like Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee have new homes.
The previous roster was initially built years ago with the idea that it would serve as a complement to Yao Ming.
Out with the old, in with the new.
The arrival of players like Jeremy Lin, Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, Terrence Jones and Donatas Matiejunas, along with the development of talent like Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson, herald a new era for the Rockets.
There's no doubt that it's a gamble, but the reward could be great.
The Denver Nuggets are an embodiment of a "starless" winning strategy. Save their Western Conference Championship run in the 2008-2009 season, one can argue the Nuggets have a brighter future with their current roster than they did with Carmelo Anthony.
Denver received solid talent in exchange for Anthony but also made good decisions in drafts. Players like Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried have proven to possess tremendous upside with their impactful performances in last season's playoff run.
With their recent acquisition of Andre Iguodala, fans in Denver can feel even more hopeful about competing with the top of the West.
Houston can do much of the same. Morey has a track record of finding value in the draft and through trades. The problem has been that while the mix of talent was good, it was never good enough to seal the deal on a playoff berth.
Starting from scratch begets hope.
Lamb, White, Jones and Matiejunas all showed early signs of gelling together. Their NBA Summer League performances were encouraging, even if the competition wasn't indicative of a real NBA game. Chandler Parsons showed how much of an asset his athleticism can be defensively and on the offensive boards in his rookie year, and he's quickly growing into a leader as well.
Surrounding them with a veteran presence is also essential.
Jeremy Lin will act as an anchor for the young team, and Omer Asik's presence will certainly be felt defensively. However, there's no telling what role Kevin Martin could play on this team. His recent injury issues and looming free-agent status leaves his purpose currently unknown.
Each of these new players brings something unique to the table, which is important on a team looking to be competitive without a top-tier superstar. The Rockets' future picks acquired in other deals should also prove useful in their quick rebuilding effort.
Perhaps Houston's bad luck with landing a superstar is a blessing in disguise.