Comparing Houston Rockets' 2013-14 Opening Day Roster vs. Start of Last Season

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIOctober 22, 2013

Comparing Houston Rockets' 2013-14 Opening Day Roster vs. Start of Last Season

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    The Houston Rockets enter the 2013-14 regular season with a roster that looks much different than it did just one calendar year ago.

    While the main core remains the same, many role players have changed teams since last October. The Rockets' changes have been for the best, though, as general manager Daryl Morey was aggressive during the offseason in acquiring top talent.

    On paper, this year's Rockets are significantly improved over last year's squad. On paper, it means nothing, though. We won't see how well this team plays together until the first few games of the regular season. It's hard to gauge a team during the preseason. Players often don't play a ton of minutes and are working out the kinks after a long offseason.

    During the first few weeks or so, we'll see just who the real Rockets are. If the analysts around the NBA are correct, then it should be an exciting season in Houston.

Point Guard

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    Last Season

    Jeremy Lin, Toney Douglas, Scott Machado

    This Season

    Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley, Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Canaan

     

    Comparison

    It's really not even close.

    Head coach Kevin McHale was quoted on Monday as saying, via ESPN.com news services, that he has "two starting point guards" on his current roster—in reference to Lin and Beverley. That's something he didn't have the luxury of saying a year ago.

    With Lin's job allegedly not set in stone, it's obvious of the depth this team has at point guard. Given that depth, it's unlikely that Brooks or Canaan will receive significant playing time.

    There's a reason Douglas and Machado didn't finish the season with the Rockets. As soon as better options emerged later on in the season (Beverley and Brooks), Morey and McHale chose to go the alternate route.

    Having so much depth at point guard will be an immense benefit for McHale this season. On a team packed with star power, playing the right point guard will be crucial. Both players are in line for starts.

     

    The Edge: This Season

Shooting Guard

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Season

    James Harden, Daequan Cook

    This Season

    James Harden, Francisco Garcia

     

    Comparison

    Again, it's not even close.

    James Harden has a year under his belt as a starter, and that will benefit Houston. Even if he doesn't put up the same gaudy numbers he did last season, Harden will play better under McHale's offense after being new to it in the beginning of 2012-13.

    The biggest change comes off the bench. Francisco Garcia was arguably the team's best addition midseason, and Morey chose to re-sign him over the offseason because of the impact he had on Houston in their race for the Western Conference playoffs.

    Cook was great from deep in his brief tenure with Houston (which last just 16 games), but Garcia's overall production and veteran leadership far outweighed Cook's production.

     

    The Edge: This Season

Small Forward

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    Last Season

    Chandler Parsons, Carlos Delfino

    This Season

    Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi, Reggie Williams, Robert Covington

     

    Comparison

    This comparison really isn't as close as it may appear. Sure, Houston as more depth at small forward than it did last season, but that doesn't mean the quality of that depth is better than the likes of Delfino.

    Casspi is having an exceptionally strong preseason, but Williams hasn't been healthy for a full season in quite some time, and there's no indication that Covington will even make the opening day roster.

    The loss of Delfino will be hard for McHale to deal with. He was a great option beyond the arc and was versatile enough to play power forward when prompted.

    There's potential here for this season's team to outproduce last season's team, but we won't be able to make that comparison fully until the end of the season.

     

    The Edge: Last Season

Power Forward

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    Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Season

    Marcus Morris, Patrick Patterson, Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones, Greg Smith, Royce White

    This Season

    Donatas Motiejunas, Terrence Jones, Greg Smith

     

    Comparison

    There are way too many questions marks at power forward yet again this season. Morris and Patterson were both worthy of starting last season but, after they were both dealt near the trade deadline, starting duties were passed on to Motiejunas and Smith.

    Now, Motiejunas and Jones will fight for starts. Neither has set himself apart from the other just yet, and with only a few preseason games remaining, McHale will have a difficult decision as to who he thrusts into the starting lineup on opening night.

    Whereas the depth at small forward wasn't enough to give this season's squad the edge, the depth at power forward last season is certainly enough. McHale had a plethora of options a year ago to step in and produce.

    Motiejunas has had a decent preseason, and Jones had a great Orlando Summer League, so one of them could very well step up in time. For now, it's the lone starting position on the roster that doesn't have a solid contributor.

     

    The Edge: Last Season

Center

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    Last Season

    Omer Asik, Cole Aldrich, Greg Smith

    This Season

    Dwight Howard, Omer Asik, Marcus Camby

     

    Comparison

    Last season's group of centers can barely hold a candle to this year's. Asik is still on the roster, but Houston now has ridiculous depth with him backing up the offseason's biggest signing in Howard.

    Camby may not play much right away given his injury, but Asik and even Smith will be able to play a few more minutes to make up for his absence. Howard, though, is the main reason why this year's group is far and away better.

    It's hard to overlook the inevitable impact of Howard. He's an All-Star center, dominant defensive player and popular guy to have in the city of Houston.

    It goes without saying that this year's group is better—much better.

     

    The Edge: This Season