2011-12 record: 34-32
Fourth place, Southwest Division
Did not make the playoffs
Analysis: Rockets' Howard fantasy up in smoke
Areas of Strength:
Youth and athleticism. The Rockets are at their best when they can get up and down and the floor to score in transition. Point guard is particularly strong with Kyle Lowry and free-agent Goran Dragic both capable of filling it up. Luis Scola remains a solid scorer on the front line, Patrick Patterson shows flashes and Chandler Parsons was a pleasant surprise as a rookie.
They still need to fill that void in the middle left by the abrupt end to Yao Ming's career. Sam Dalembert was up and down with journeyman's work and 37-year-old Marcus Camby was capable, but not the long-term answer. They desperately need a rebounding, shot-blocking anchor up front to play the way coach Kevin McHale wants. Last year's pick Donatas Motiejunas could help if he makes the move from Europe.
Two Stats That Matter:
28 -- Where the Rockets ranked in free throws attempted last season, showing a need for an inside game driving to the hoop.
45 -- The number of home court losses over the past three seasons, which is a big reason for not making the playoffs.
The Way To Go:
The Rockets can continue to be highly-entertaining, usually-competitive and always dangerous by playing an up-tempo game with a small lineup and no All-Stars. But to get back into the playoff lineup, they need a bonafide lead horse to pull the wagon and also a big man who can hold down the middle and protect the rim.
2011-12 Team Stats:
Offensive: 102.8 (12th)
Defensive: 102.1 (15th)
G: Kevin Martin
F: Luis Scola
G: Kyle Lowry
F: Marcus Morris
F: Chandler Parsons
F: Chase Budinger
C: Samuel Dalembert
C: Marcus Camby (unrestricted)
G: Goran Dragic (unrestricted)
G: Courtney Lee (restrictetd)
Recent Draft History
2011: Marcus Morris (14), Nikola Mirotic (23), Chandler Parsons (38)
2010: Patrick Patterson (14)
2008: Nicolas Batum (25), Marty Leunen (54)
2007: Aaron Brooks (26), Brad Newley (54)
2006: Rudy Gay (8), Steve Novak (32)
-- Fran Blinebury