The Houston Rockets enter the 2019-20 season with renewed championship expectations.
Although the Rockets have fallen short of winning a title in recent years, the 2019-20 season feels different for two reasons.
For one, Russell Westbrook is now in the picture. The former league MVP joins forces with James Harden yet again as both players will look to win their first NBA title as teammates in Houston.
Secondly, the Rockets no longer have to deal with their biggest foe since the 2014-15 season — the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are no longer a threat, which is a big deal considering Golden State had eliminated Houston from the playoffs in four of the past five seasons.
With a new star player in town and the Warriors out of the picture, the 2019-20 season can finally be the one where the Rockets accomplish their objective — hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Rockets Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Bucks
*Notates expected starter
C: Clint Capela*, Tyson Chandler, Nene, Isaiah Hartenstein
PF: P.J. Tucker*, Ryan Anderson, Gary Clark
SF: Danuel House Jr.*, Eric Gordon, Thabo Sefolosha
SG: James Harden*, Austin Rivers, Ben McLemore
PG: Russell Westbrook*, Chris Clemons, Michael Frazier
Danuel House Inserted as Starting Small Forward
The biggest thing of note here is obviously Danuel House’s inclusion as the starting small forward. Veteran Eric Gordon was expected to be the starter again this season, but a change was made last week as Gordon will shift back to his former sixth man role.
For those that don’t recall, the 30-year-old Gordon won Sixth Man of the Year honors during the 2017-18 season.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni has already spoke of his desire to use House as the team’s go-to perimeter defender, via Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
“I would say that falls on Danuel the most,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We’ll use his energy to pick up the ball and put some pressure on it. It’s just the first five minutes and a lot of times, players want to try to get other people involved in the first five minutes and then they take over.”
It was Gordon — not just D’Antoni — who signed off on the move to have him come off of the bench.
No. I make [the decision] with him. He’s more important than the decision is. I make sure he’s comfortable with it, and make sure that it’s okay, and I get the best out of Eric. That’s more important than anything I can come up with.
Once he signed off on that … I think it’s better for the team that we go this way, although nothing is ever written in stone. At the same time, it’s good that he was comfortable with it.
We’ll give it a try. Eric will do whatever we think is best for the team.
Bucks at Rockets Betting Line
Milwaukee Bucks at Houston Rockets
October 24, 2019 at 8:00 pm ET
Toyota Center at Houston, Texas
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: Houston (-2)
This is the season opener for both teams and it certainly doesn’t lack in star power. While Harden and Westbrook will be looking to win their first titles, Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning MVP who will be looking to let Harden know that he’s the NBA’s best player.
The smart money is on the Bucks covering the spread. Remember, this was the NBA’s best team in the regular season last year.
As far as the over/under is concerned, I’d go over. The game certainly won’t lack in offense with three of the top offensive players in the league involved in this game.