2016 Houston Rockets

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Houston Rockets (Last Year: 41-41)

2016-17 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Dwight Howard/Clint Capela

PF: Donatas Motiejunas/Terrence Jones/Montrezl Harrell

SF: Trevor Ariza/Michael Beasley/Sam Dekker/K.J. McDaniels

SG: James Harden/Corey Brewer

PG: Patrick Beverley/Andrew Goudelock

NBA Free Agents:

C-Dwight Howard (PO)

SG-Jason Terry (UFA)

PF-Josh Smith (UFA)

PF-Terrence Jones (RFA)

PF-Donatas Motiejunas (RFA)

2016-17 Team Salary: Approximately $60.8 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Center: Even though he is owed more than $23 million next season, Dwight Howard is likely to opt out of his contract and pursue other opportunities. Howard is still one of the most impactful big men in the game, but seems to be entering the downside of his career already since his numbers took a slide this past season. If I’m Houston, I would not be in a major rush to extend Howard to the monster deal that he will be seeking.

So if Howard and Houston end up parting ways, the club will be searching for another big man. Donatas Motiejunas could plug some of the minutes in the middle, but he is a restricted free agent who the team almost dealt him prior to the trade deadline. Clint Capela is another option, but he is still raw and developing his all-around game, meaning he is not ready for a starting role.

2. Point Guard: Outside of Patrick Beverley, the Rockets don’t really have a point guard option. The Ty Lawson experiment was a waste of a first-round pick, and with Jason Terry, who filled in some minutes at the point, a free agent; there is a need to find another capable point guard who can play significant minutes off the bench.

3. Power Forward: Terrence Jones fell out of favor this past season, and Motiejunas assumed the starting power forward position late in the season, but both are restricted free agents. The position was such a weakness that the Rockets even signed Josh Smith during the season, which did little to improve their level of play. With no first-round picks and little tradable assets, however, the Rockets’ improvement of their roster must come via free agency.

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