With the 0'8-09' NBA Season finished up, Rockets fans everywhere are looking at this season as sort of bittersweet, emphasis on bitter. Sure, we were the only team to take the NBA Champions to seven games in the playoffs, but if not with the bombardment of injuries, who knows where this season could have ended up.
With fresh legs (and feet in Yao Ming's case) next year, the Rockets are looking to be a real contender in the West.
As long as we hit the ground running this offseason.
One) First order of business on GM Daryl Morey's plate has to be to re-sign Ron Artest. Despite not showing up point-wise at the end of the Lakers series, RonRon was pretty solid throughout the playoffs and the regular season. He has cleaned up his image, and the fans in Houston love him. His importance on defense can also only be compared to all-world defender Shane Battier.
Two) Get Yao Ming to sign an extension THIS off-season. As a Rockets fan, I am already tired of hearing all of this "Yao to the Cavs" talk, and I don't want to hear any more of it. No matter what he asks, give it to him. He is the face of the franchise. When other teams think of how to guard Houston, the first thought is how they could stop Yao. He is the face of the franchise and he needs to be secured NOW. No one wants a bidding war after next year..
Three) Von Wafer chose a very good year, financially-speaking, to step up off the bench. Any time during the playoffs when it got to be near the end of the first quarter or the beginning of the second, I knew we were in good hands with Wafer coming off the bench. He needs to be re-signed to three or four year contract with a good sum of money. We all know that the Lakers and Blazers saw what he could do, and I'm sure neither one of those teams would mind having him on their squad off the bench.
Four) The signing of another big off-the-bench pick up. I honestly think that our starting 5 in the playoffs is the starting five that could get the job done next year. Our bench was very solid throughout the playoffs, but it can't hurt to add more depth. I'm thinking of another player similar to Wafer who is kind of streaky, but when he is on, he is ON. I'm thinking possibly Eddie House??
Five)If we can stay healthy and make a serious effort to sign another big man (Mehmet Okur.. But I'm only dreaming.. plus, he would have to play PF..) to back up Yao, then and only then will I begin to even think about making a run at a title. Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes do great jobs coming off the bench, but let's face it, they are forwards, not centers. When you have 6'9 Luis Scola going up for a jump ball at the start of the game, you know nine times out of 10 you aren't going to win that tip.
After the disappointing end to last season, I truly believe that if the Rockets make some big moves this off-season, they could make a serious run next year for the division and maybe even a conference title. With another big man, and some more bench help, the Rockets would be in very good shape for the 2009-2010 season.