Chronologically, I wanted to preview the Rockets first, but at the time, the draft and free agency were starting to go full bore, so it seemed better to wait and see what would go down in Houston. And much like fast-forwarding through the movie Titanic (the only thing missing is the great Billy Zane), this franchise is set to try and recover what it lost in the Bubble. Which was basically everything…

2019-20 Top Performers

James Harden 68 36.5 34.3 6.6 7.5 1.8 0.9 4.5
Russell Westbrook 57 36.0 27.2 7.9 7.0 1.6 0.4 4.5
Ben McLemore 71 22.8 10.1 2.2 0.8 0.6 0.2 0.7
Danuel House 63 30.4 10.5 4.2 1.3 1.1 0.5 0.9
Austin Rivers 68 23.4 8.8 2.6 1.7 0.7 0.1 0.7

2020-21 Projected Depth Chart

Starters J. Wall J. Harden D. House P. Tucker C. Wood
Rotation B. McLemore E. Gordon B. Caboclo
Rotation G. Green D. Nwaba
Limited C. Clemons B. Thomas G. Green K. Wooten D. Cousins
Limited T. Queen J. Tate
Limited M. Jones K. Martin

2020-221 Outlook

Honestly, if it were up to me, I’d wait a few more weeks to wrap this piece up just to see what else happens, but when you think about, that’s the start of the NBA season, so its just not going to happen. So in a way, we’re landing right in the middle of an offseason rebuild. We’ll call it post-Westbrook, pre-Harden, which sounds like a historic medieval England sex position. And while its fun reading about all of the internet’s theory-crafting Harden over to the Nets, we just have to assume for now that he’s going to be on the roster for a bit of time, or to be more specific, at a Vegas strip club until he either runs out of leverage or creates the leverage he needs.

Free Agents Retained Pos FA Status Nationality
DeMarre Carroll F (U) Non-Bird United States
Tyson Chandler C (U) Non-Bird United States
Michael Frazier G (U) Early Bird United States
William Howard F (U) Non-Bird France
Thabo Sefolosha GF (U) Non-Bird Switzerland
Trevon Duval PG (U) Non-Bird United States
Kenneth Faried F (U) Non-Bird United States
Tarik Black PF (U) Non-Bird United States

That being said, I find this team has a multitude of ways to be a dumpster fire, but while this may end up being the most entertaining of all scenarios, I think it more likely that this team just ends up being “meh” on the macro level, but could end up some intriguing appeal at the micro level when all is said and done.

Now, I know some of the biggest news for the Rockets is also the most voluminous in terms of content already out there, so there won’t be another expansive hot take on what John Wall and Russell Westbrook will bring to their respective new teams. All I know is that Wall was an amazing and physically gifted player, one of the fastest up-and-down players I have ever seen with great finishing ability, and he hasn’t played in 700,000 years. Eons I tell ya! So to be Frank, because it’s easy to pronounce I guess, your best guess is as good as mine when it comes to what Wall can still do and if he can do it on your fantasy team.

And if that wasn’t the biggest news, the James Harden holdout controversy which just ended yesterday, still looks to be escalating into a somewhat explosive exit (hate those!) and may keep the Rockets in negative news throughout the preseason until he is either traded or moves into Houston’s Club Onyx fulltime.

Now, despite those two topics taking most of Houston’s offseason oxygen, there are some tidbits to find here, intriguing options with potential. Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins stand to benefit most if Wall returns, and could still be okay options if the opposite happens. I actually went over Wood a bit with my Pistons preview, at the time I had believed the same as I do now, an ever-improving big man that needs playmakers around him to flourish and to capitalize down-low from the space. (I had actually thought the Pistons would be in a good position to keep Wood, and think it’s a savvy move by the Rockets.) I like the different dynamic that Wall brings to the floor to complement that concept, and while his assist numbers have never been spectacular, before he was injured, that part of his game was growing and improving at a steady rate, and it’s that aspect of his game I think other players will benefit the most from.

And of course a lot of this can change in the next few weeks depending on the fallout from a potential Harden trade, but until then, much like this preview, this team feels incomplete and a bit muddled.



Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him @jaywrong.

  1. Jason says:

    Did you say Wall’s assist numbers have never been spectacular? His career APG is 9.2…

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      Meant passing awareness. DC knows he can create space, and while what you state is true about his APG, he can do better, and was getting better during the healthiest part of his career several years ago. But you’re right otherwise, misspoke on the raw numbers. Meant to convey something different.

  2. gino napoli says:

    yea, WTF. John Wall got more than 10 assists per game for 3 seasons in a row from 2014 to 2017, so I wonder what the baseline you have for the word “spectacular” would be – since he was within the top 3 for assists per game in those 3 seasons.

    I agree however that he is not John Stockton, who averaged more than 11 assists per game for 9 freaking seasons.

    So okay then. John Wall has been “very good” or “excellent” but not “spectacular” in the sense of the all-time great players, which would indeed be a correct usage of the word “spectacular”.

    • Jay

      Jay says:

      I think you answered your own question. I addressed the specifics of the above poster.

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