Last Updated: 2018-08-20
The Houston Rockets had an excellent 2017-18 season, setting the franchise record with 65 wins and only 17 losses (34-7 at home, 31-10 on the road) to top the Western Conference and win the Southwest Division, but they couldn’t reach the NBA Finals, losing to the Golden State Warriors in the seventh game of the conference finals. The Rockets played some entertaining basketball, having the best offensive rating in the league (114.7), but they were also a great defensive team, allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions to their opponents.
The futures and props on the Rockets are already available on BetDSI Sportsbook, so let’s take a closer look on the latest news and see what can the bettors expect from Houston in the 2018-19 NBA season.
Houston Rockets Futures Odds
Win Total Over/Under at 55.5: Over -110; Under -110
To Win the Southwest Division at -440
To Win the Western Conference at +675
To Win the NBA Championship at +800
To Make NBA Playoffs: YES -10000, NO +2500 (Bet365 Sportsbook)
Houston Rockets Player Movement
Draft: De’Anthony Melton (No. 46 Pick), Vincent Edwards (No. 52 Pick)
Added: Carmelo Anthony (free agency, Atlanta Hawks), Michael Carter-Williams (free agency, Charlotte Hornets)
Lost: Trevor Ariza (signed with Phoenix Suns), Luc Mbah a Moute (signed with Los Angeles Clippers)
Unrestricted Free Agents: Joe Johnson, Tarik Black
The Rockets made a couple of significant changes this summer, adding a ten-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony to their roster, but losing Trevor Ariza who played a very important role in the last four years, particularly as a defensive stopper. Carmelo should bring even more offensive power to Houston, although the previous season in Oklahoma was the worst of his career, averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists in 32.1 minutes per game while shooting 40.4% from the field and 35.7% from beyond the arc. Melo set his career low in points and field goal percentage per game, so settling in a new place could be a smart move for a 34-year old wing. Playing with James Harden and Chris Paul should make him more a spot up shooter, but that is what Melo probably needs in this stage of his career.
On the other side, Trevor Ariza was an important part of the Houston Rockets starting lineup, doing all essential things at the defensive end, so it will be a huge blow for Mike D’Antoni’s team that played some strong defense last year. Ariza appeared in 67 regular-season games averaging 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game while hitting 36.8% of his 3-pointers. In the playoffs, Ariza had 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, shooting poorly from the field (36.0%) but still doing a great defensive job. The Rockets lost another good defender, as Luc Mbah a Moute moved to the Los Angeles Clippers after playing 61 games last season.
The Rockets fortified their backcourt with a 26-year old point guard Michael Carter-Williams who spent the previous season with the Charlotte Hornets, averaging just 4.6 points and 2.2 assists in 16.1 minutes per game. The 11th overall pick from the 2013 NBA Draft will try to revive his career in Houston after having two disappointing years in Chicago and Charlotte.
Houston Rockets 2018-19 Roster
James Harden won his first NBA MVP Award last season as he was tremendous during the regular season with 30.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 8.8 assists per game, shooting 44.9% from the field and 36.7% from beyond the arc. The Beard led his team to 65 wins, setting the franchise record, so he fully deserved the award. Harden was a true team leader, taking the full responsibility in clutch moments, but he couldn’t get the things done in the seventh game against the Warriors. In 17 playoff games, The Beard averaged 28.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists, while shooting 41.0% from the field and just 29.9% from beyond the arc.
Chris Paul had a solid first season with the Rockets, averaging 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.9 assists on 46.0% shooting from the field, but due to injury problems, he appeared in only 58 games during the regular season. The hamstring strain prevents him to appear in the sixth and seventh game of the series with the Golden State Warriors, so the nine-time All-Star couldn’t help his teammates in the most important moments of the season. Paul was unstoppable in 15 playoff games last season, averaging 21.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.8 assists, so who knows what could happen with him on the floor.
Eric Gordon was the third scoring option for the Rockets last season, mostly coming off the bench to record 18.0 points and 2.2 assists per game on 42.8% shooting from the field and 35.9% from downtown. Gordon’s numbers declined in the playoffs to 15.4 points and 1.6 assists per game on 38.0% shooting from the field, but he will continue to contribute in the 2018-19 season as an important part of the Rockets’ rotation.
Clint Capela had a great 2017-18 season, setting his career high in points (13.9), rebounds (10.8), blocks (1.9), field goal percentage (65.2%), and free-throw percentage (56.0%). The 25th overall pick from the 2014 NBA Draft established himself as one of the best centers in the league, fitting perfectly into Mike D’Antoni’s system. Capela became an elite rim protector who can run the floor almost like a guard and make some serious damage on the offensive end catching lob passes from Harden and Paul. The talented big man was a huge factor in the playoffs, averaging 12.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game.
P.J. Tucker played in all 82 games last year, 34 as a starter, doing a great job at the defensive end, and averaging 6.1 points and 5.6 rebounds. The 33-year old versatile forward will be coming off the bench this season, but his defensive effort could be crucial for the Rockets after Trevor Ariza left the team. Gerald Green will be another solid backup option if he stays healthy for the most of the season. Last year, he played in just 41 games during the regular season, recording 12.1 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
Players Under Contract:
Chris Paul (PG), Michael Carter-Williams (PG)
James Harden (SG), Eric Gordon (SG)
Carmelo Anthony (SF), Gerald Green (SF), James Enis III (SF)
P.J. Tucker (PF), Ryan Anderson (PF), Vincent Edwards (PF)
Clint Capela (C), Nene Hilario (C), Zhou Qi (C)
Win Total Prediction and Betting Picks
The Rockets had the unforgettable 2017-18 season and it is hard to expect to see them winning 65 games for the second year in a row. However, if they stay healthy, James Harden and his teammates should surpass the 55-win mark and once again battle for the playoffs’ pole position. Harden will try to retain the MVP Award, and he’s a +650 favorite with only three guys ahead of him – LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Rockets are runaway favorites to retain the division title with the odds at -650 on Bet365 Sportsbook, and at this moment, only the San Antonio Spurs look like a serious danger. On the other hand, the Rockets seem like the only team that could endanger the Warriors in the West, so picking them at +550 to win the conference could be a nice wager.
The Rockets could suffer defensively after losing Trevor Ariza, but if Mike D’Antoni assembles the things on time, his team will be like a well-oiled machine prepared to blossom in the playoffs. I don’t think they will win the NBA championship, but I can see them in the Western Conference Finals battling against the mighty Warriors.
The Pick: Over 55.5 (-110)
Prediction: Western Conference Finals
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