The Houston Rockets have not made the playoffs since selling James Harden in 2021. In reality, they’ve come nowhere close. The Rockets have finished last in the Western Conference for the past three seasons. The Rockets’ fortunes are about to shift as a result of recent roster additions.
Houston Rockets Rockets could make their first postseason trip in the 2023-24 season. The key reasons for this are their senior additions, the ongoing growth of their young core, and the coach to lead them.
The Rockets are likely to have the highest difference in expected wins from the previous season, according to Bleacher Report. Houston won only 22 games last season, so that should be easy to overcome. The club, on the other side, can nearly triple its previous season’s win total.
This change derives from the talent brought to the club by their most recent additions. The most noteworthy addition is Fred VanVleet, who has committed to a three-year contract. VanVleet is an All-Star guard who can lead the Rockets’ offense. His main strength is his ability to shoot, but he has also grown as a playmaker. Last season, he averaged a career-high 7.2 assists per game.
The Rockets also signed Dillon Brooks, Patty Mills, and Jeff Green. These are all tough vets with specific strengths. Brooks is a solid defender, Mills is a capable shooter, and Green has evolved into a valuable role player who recently won his first NBA championship. These senior players are critical for a young team like the Rockets.
The next factor that could lead to a playoff push is the development of the young players. The Rockets’ young players included Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and Alperen Sengun. In the 2023 draft, they added Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore, who could end up being the steal of the draft. If their young players continue to develop, it will only be a matter of time before their efforts are rewarded.
Finally, Ime Udoka was hired as head coach of the Rockets. In his first season with the Boston Celtics, he helped lead the team to the NBA Finals. The Rockets do not expect something like that to happen, but they believe Udoka is the right person for the position.
Based on his performance in Boston, Houston is correct to be optimistic. In comparison to the Rockets, the Celtics had a comparable mix of young and veteran players. Udoka’s coaching experience may be decisive in the Rockets’ playoff run.
In recent years, the Rockets have endured a streak of dismal seasons. Things are about to change, though. Next season, Houston has a good chance of making the playoffs.