STAYING: Clint Capela, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, James Harden, Nenê, Chris Paul, PJ Tucker and Zhou Qi.
ADDED: Carmelo Anthony (Oklahoma City), Bruno Caboclo (Sacramento), Michael Carter-Williams (Charlotte), Marquese Chriss (Phoenix), Gary Clark (Cincinnati), Vince Edwards (Purdue), James Ennis (Detroit), Isaiah Hartenstein (Rio Grande Valley) and Brandon Knight (Phoenix).
GONE: Ryan Anderson (Phoenix), Trevor Ariza (Phoenix), Tarik Black (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Markel Brown (Darussafaka), RJ Hunter (Atlanta), Aaron Jackson (Beijing), Joe Johnson, Luc Mbah a Moute (LA Clippers) and Chinanu Onuaku (Portland).
STRENGTHS: Backcourt features one of the best point guards and one of the best shooting guards in basketball history … The latter is at the peak of his powers coming off an MVP season … The former keeps performing like a star when healthy … Chris Paul and James Harden can create off the dribble like few others in the NBA … With those two plus Eric Gordon, Carmelo Anthony and others, the Rockets can bury you in three-pointers … Scoring the ball is not going to be a problem … They were No. 1 in offensive rating in 2017-18 … Clint Capela fits perfectly with what they do running the floor, finishing lobs and cleaning the glass … Legit defense anchored by the Swiss center and tough as nails PJ Tucker … Houston has a superb coach in Mike D’Antoni.
WEAKNESSES: CP3 misses quite a bit of time every season … That includes the playoffs, which is obviously a massive issue … They are super thin at point guard behind Paul with Brandon Knight still sidelined … He has not played a game since April 2017 … They are taking a step back defensively with Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute gone in free agency and assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik retiring.
PREDICTION: 1st in the Southwest Division, 2nd in the Western Conference.