Last season the Houston Rockets exceeded expectations as they were able to finally advance past the first round of the playoffs and give the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers a run for their money. Even though Yao Ming and company weren’t able to finish off Phil Jackson’s Lakers in game seven, the future looked bright for Houston as they would almost certainly take this momentum into the following season.
Unfortunately, this season the Houston Rockets chose to clean house and aren’t really the same team that almost made it to the Western Conference finals in the previous year. Ron Artest ended up signing a free agent contract with the defending NBA champion Lakers, Yao Ming didn’t play a single game this season with a foot injury and Tracy McGrady was finally sent packing. Needless to say, this season the Rockets looked like a completely different team.
Despite the absence of Ron Artest, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming this season, the Houston Rockets still had a relatively successful year and witnessed a new team leader emerge in point guard Aaron Brooks.
Obviously the loss of arguably the team’s best players was a huge blow to the Houston Rockets, but despite having to go on without their superstars they fared quite well and were able to see what players they can count on in the future.
Just before the NBA trade deadline this season on February 18th, the Houston Rockets decided to make huge move that would drastically change the franchise for the foreseeable future. It is no secret that Tracy McGrady is an injury prone superstar that rarely can stay healthy enough to help contribute. Coming into this season, McGrady was hoping of resurrecting his career as he was finally healthy, but the Rockets had made moves in the offseason to plan for the future like signing free agent Trevor Ariza.
With Ariza taking McGrady’s place, and number for that matter, the Rockets seemed ready to move and part ways with their former face of the franchise. As a result, the Rockets and McGrady came to an agreement to part ways and ultimately traded him to the New York Knicks. The trade involved three teams and in exchange the Rockets received a dominant scorer Kevin Martin from the Sacramento Kings in the three way deal.
Now the Houston Rockets look noticeably different and the future is uncertain, but one of the most promising players on the squad right now is point guard Aaron Brooks who has only gotten better with more time on the floor.
At season’s end, there were a few players around the league that drastically improved their game like Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, but the consensus was that the Aaron Brooks was the most improved of any player in the league and as a result has become the NBA’s Most Improved Player.
With Brooks running the point and promising young players like Trevor Ariza, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola on the squad, the Houston Rockets could be a force to be reckoned next season and if they dip into free agency they could be even better moving forward.