Perfect timing. We play the Rockets tonight and today is the day to run the Rockets' previews. Enjoy.
From a team perspective defense will keep the Rockets in games that their scoring will say they have no business being in. The carryover from the JVG years that has been the Rockets calling card could be as good as it's ever been this year. While there is no Yao Ming holding down the middle, the rest of the defense should be even better making it a wash. Every player on the team can play defense (contrary to popular belief, Scola is a solid defender) and just about everyone has speed, strength and athleticism. The key question on defense is how with David Andersen plays his part.
There was really only one move of great significance, and that was the swap of Artest for Ariza. For this year, the trade-off might end up making the team worse. Artest is more of a shot-creator, whereas Ariza is an off-the-ball role player. With Yao out, the team is lacking guys who can create their own shot, and Artest would’ve helped with that. In the long run, however, the move is a no-brainer. Ariza is younger and can be a quality starter for this team through the length of his contract. Artest, 30, had definitely lost a step or two last year (and is also certifiably crazy).