The offseason plan for the Houston Rockets is less about rebuilding and more about refining. With a young roster led by guard James Harden, Houston can become a fixture in the playoffs with a few more finishing touches this summer.
The biggest key for the team will be defense. Houston allowed an average of 102.5 points per game during the regular season, which was the third-worst in the NBA. They also gave up 105.8 points a night in the playoffs, second only to Denver as the postseason's worst.
On the bright side, the Rockets finished with the league's second-best scoring offense, averaging 106 points per contest. Harden evolved from a key reserve on Oklahoma City's bench last year to one of the game's elite starting guards.
Center Omer Asik proved to be a free agent steal, contributing 10.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game in his first season as an NBA starter. He also helped on the defensive end by blocking at least one shot a game.
Small forward Chandler Parsons emerged as one of the league's best bargains. He produced 15.5 points a night, while making just under $1 million for last season.
With just $38 million committed for next season (not including team options), the Rockets are in a good position to add to this young core. Big-named free agents such as Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap and Josh Smith will all be in play.
To get a better understanding of Houston's offseason strategy, let's break down the most crucial decisions the team will have to make. These moves will be broken down in the order of importance, with the biggest move being saved for the grand finale.