For the Houston Rockets, last season saw them catch a bad break.
They played well in the regular season and we all heard about their heartbreak in the playoffs.
Houston’s G.M. Daryl Morey feels the same as Rockets fans: playoff time has got to be show time. With that in mind, he is doing what he can on his end and making moves.
The biggest deal so far was the acquisition of guard Steve Francis. Francis reportedly signed a two year deal on 19 July. Francis is coming off two tumultuous seasons with the Knicks after one season of misadventure in Orlando.
‘Stevey Franchise’ was a staple for the Rockets for five years. In those days, he could create his own offense whenever he wanted. He could pull up and knock down jumpers, crossover and penetrate into the lane and finish strong.
He could defend as well. He had quick feet that could stick with anyone and an eye for the ball. He could even rebound and make occasional assists.
Francis is 30 years old now and his time with the Knicks has shown his age.
He no longer has outstanding leaping ability. His knees are arthritic and he’s injury-prone. He doesn’t have the speed or defense he used to. To make matter worse, he’s still a selfish, shoot-first point guard.
On the contrary, Francis had his best seasons in Houston. From 1999-2004 he averaged 19.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists.
Nevertheless, for Francis to be a worthy investment he’s going to need to put up similar numbers. Or at least come close in the scoring and passing department.
It’s no secret that the Rockets desperately need a third scoring option. They also need to improve at the point where Rafer Alston has been erratic at best.
Maybe alongside Mike James and the core of youngsters currently there, Francis can fill those needs. Or maybe Francis will be the pouting, self-centred has-been many think he is.
Either way the Rockets’ plan is simple: get more 2-way players around Tracy and Yao that will do their best to get the team a good draw come playoff time.
In the end, the Rockets already have a team that is good enough to make the playoffs next year.
Time will tell if the team is good enough to go deeper than the first round.