5 Reasons Why Houston Rockets Could Surpass Expectations Next Year

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5 Reasons Why Houston Rockets Could Surpass Expectations Next Year
Will this year be another first round exit for the Rockets, or can they surpass expectations?

A painful first-round exit turned into an even worse offseason, but it's not time to panic just yet for the Houston Rockets. After striking out in free agency and losing Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons in the process, the experts don't have much faith in the Rockets. But I still do, and I am going to give you five reasons why you should too.

The Western Conference is never a walk in the park. The past few years, there have been at least nine or 10 legitimate playoff teams in the West. There is plenty of competition within the conference, which makes regaining home-court advantage a difficult task for Houston.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers all finished ahead of Houston last season and are poised to do the same once again in 2015. Then you have other teams clawing at the Rockets for the final spot in the top four, such as the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, etc.

ESPN has the Rockets finishing eighth, behind all of those teams, albeit the fourth seed and eighth seed are separated by just two games. It's crowded out West, but Houston can hang with the best of them. Here are five reasons, ranked in order of significance, why the Rockets will be a top-4 team once again.

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