Houston Rockets Fantasy Basketball Season Preview

The itinerant shoulder model has moved home and the hirsuite Harden is poised to begin his reign as scoring champ under Mike D’Antoni. By hiring D’Antoni the Rockets are going all in on their gameplan of “score-first, defend-never” and the results should be pretty exciting for fantasy owners.

Newcomers Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson bring with them great outside shooting as well as injury concerns. The exit of Dwight Howard leaves a big gap at the five that should provide Clint Capela with increased usage and minutes.

Player Movement

Notable Ins Notable Outs
Eric Gordon New Orleans Pelicans
Nene Washington Wizards
Ryan Anderson New Orleans Pelicans
Dwight Howard Atlanta Hawks
Terrence Jones New Orleans Pelicans
Ty Lawson Sacramento Kings

Houston Rockets Depth Chart

Point Guard Shooting Guard Small Forward Power Forward Center
Patrick Beverley
Pablo Prigioni
James Harden
Eric Gordon
K.J. McDaniels
Trevor Ariza
Corey Brewer
Sam Dekker
Ryan Anderson
Michael Beasley
Montrezl Harrell
Clint Capela
Nene

Rotation Player Projections

POS PLAYER USG MPG PTS REB AST STL BLK 3PM FG% FT% TO
SG James Harden 36 36 30.4 5.8 7.9 1.6 0.6 3 43.9 86 4.8
C Clint Capela 16 30 11 10.1 0.9 1.3 1.9 0 58.2 37.9 1.3
SF Trevor Ariza 15.8 30 10.8 3.8 2 1.7 0.3 2 41.6 78.3 1.2
PF Ryan Anderson 21.7 30 14.7 5.9 1 0.6 0.4 1.7 42.7 87.3 1.2
PG Patrick Beverley 15.4 29 10 3.5 3.4 1.3 0.4 1.7 43.4 68.2 1.3
SG Eric Gordon 20.3 28 12.9 1.9 2.3 0.9 0.3 2.1 41.8 88.8 1.4
C Nene 21.5 16 7.7 3.8 1.4 0.8 0.4 0 54.4 57.8 1.1
PF Michael Beasley 22 16 8.4 4.3 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.1 52.2 77.6 0.8
SF Corey Brewer 15.9 15 4.7 1.8 0.8 0.7 0.1 0.5 38.4 75 0.7
PG Pablo Prigioni 11.1 10 1.8 1.4 1.6 0.6 0 0.4 37.4 87.5 0.6

Position Battles

Second Guard

I’m anticipating that D’Antoni rolls out a Gordon and Harden backcourt as often or more than he rolls out a Harden and Beverley backcourt. Beverley is a defensive specialist and I think D’Antoni values that less than having a knockdown shooter for his offense. Phoenix was deadly because the Stoudemire/Nash pick and roll would pull defenders away from the shooters waiting on the wings or in the corner. If those shooters are of the Eric Gordon/Ryan Anderson caliber then the defense has to respect the shooter and that opens up more space for the rolling big or for the PG to keep his dribble and drive. All of this works better with Harden handling the ball, and with Gordon as an active threat on the outside.

Rise in Value

James Harden

The usage will be higher. That’s all anyone knows for sure. Whether the fantasy boost is everywhere or just in certain categories is a matter of speculation. The general consensus is that his FG% will improve because of the floor spacing and the addition of better shooters, and his assists may actually increase since he’ll be passing to better shooters. I don’t foresee a big increase in points.

Clint Capela

One of my favorite picks for this year. Capela is poised for a huge year if his conditioning is good enough to keep him on the court for 25+. I’m anxious to see if he can effectively pick-and-roll with Harden. If that connection looks solid then watch out. CC has been working on his free throws in the offseason but he’s still quite terrible. If he starts putting up enough he could tank your FT%.

Decrease in Value

Patrick Beverley

If the Harden/Gordon backcourt takes off then Beverley’s minutes could drop low enough to render him fantasy useless.

Injury Risks

Eric Gordon

This year could be huge for Gordon if he stays healthy. As I mentioned above, I think he runs SG while Harden runs PG and that could work well for the Rockets. But his perennial troubles (last year it was a nagging finger injury) could hamper his ability to solidify his role on the team.

Ryan Anderson

Stretch fours look great in a D’Antoni system (e.g. Channing Frye with Phoenix) but Ryan will have to play through any one of his nagging and persistent issues.

Other Player Summaries

Trevor Ariza Mr. Dependable

Ariza gets you around 10 points a night. 2+ threes and sometimes 2+steals. He plays often and doesn’t miss many games. If you know what you’re getting he’s a dependable player that puts up good numbers. There’s a good chance that his field goal attempts go up with the sort of ball movement D’Antoni likes and I would think that only increases his value. Sam Dekker should come off the bench and will pose no real threat to Ariza's playing time.

K.J. McDaniel Very Deep League

If McDaniel gets any time he’s got sneaky value due to his ability to put up blocks and threes. That’s a useful and rare combination.


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