Contrary to everyone else's opinion that the Golden State Warriors are going to be the champs, I think that the Houston Rockets have an amazing chance to win the championship.
The Rockets were not only my favorite team but were also the top seed in the West last year and were up 3-2 to the Warriors during the Western Conference Finals. Sadly, with the injury of Chris Paul and the shooting slump during game 7 the Warriors prevailed and moved on to the NBA finals. However, this year I think things will be different and it will be the Rockets beating the Warriors and moving onto the NBA finals.
The Rockets have a great chance at beating the Warriors because of these things. DeMarcus Cousins has been considered the best center in the NBA for quite a few seasons but was injured this past season and tore his Achilles taking him out the remainder of the season. An injury like his will surely affect his play style and not allow him to be as a dominant at the center position. This injury raises concerns if he will still be the best center or a shell of his former self. If he can't play like he used to Clint Capella can handle him in the paint and prevent the Warriors from going down low and scoring giving the edge to the Rockets.
Chris Paul being healthy during the playoffs this year will give the Rockets a huge edge in the playoffs as seen from him missing the games from the series between the Rockets and Warriors. Chris Paul is a key part of the Rockets offense switching the distributing and ball handling duties between him and James Harden allows for a powerful one-two punch that the Warriors will have a hard time answering all while keeping them both from fatiguing allowing Harden and Paul to play well throughout the game. If the Rockets have Chris Paul healthy this year they stand a great chance to beat the Warriors as last season during the last Western Conference Finals the Rockets came close to beating the Warriors without Paul. Having Chris Paul last year, the Rockets definitely beat the Warriors and move on to face the Cavaliers.
One of the great strengths of the Rockets is their play style and second unit. The Rockets run a very fast-paced offense, focused on shooting from beyond the arc. They have strengthened this play style by adding many capable shooters to the roster such as Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and the newest member of the Rockets Carmelo Anthony. With this fast-paced offensive game, it is important to not slow down while also resting star players like James Harden and Chris Paul. This is where the second unit comes in to keep the offense going. With 2016-2017 sixth man of the year winner Eric Gordon running the second unit last year it allowed Harden and Paul to take breaks while also not giving up scoring power. The latest addition to the team Carmelo Anthony who is rumored to come off the bench will strengthen the second unit making the Rockets second unit one of the best in the league. This second unit allows the Rockets to beat a lot of teams that have a weak second unit like the Warriors whose focus is in their starting five.
Lastly, Mike D'Antoni is a phenomenal coach winning the Coach of the year award in 2017 and developing the Rockets play style into what it is now. D'Antoni is an incredible coach making the most out of his player's strengths and what they are good at. In this case, James Harden and Chris Paul are amazing at isolation, passing, and playmaking. Warping his team around this talent allowed them to develop a quick and efficient offense that ranks in the top 15 of all time. With D'Antoni at the reigns and Harden and Paul running the floor, there is nothing this team cannot do. The Rockets are a standout team with a lot of potential in their coaching, stars, and second unit making them my favorites to win it all this year despite the other great teams like the Celtics and Warriors.