After suffering another massive defeat from the hands of the Golden State Warriors in 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Houston Rockets became more aggressive in upgrading their roster. The Rockets boosted their backcourt by trading Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook last summer and addressed the major problem in their wing with the successful acquisition of Robert Covington before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. However, despite the improvements they made, the Rockets are still not considered as one of the top favorites to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.
It's hard to blame people for thinking that way. The Rockets may have solved their issue in the wing but in exchange for obtaining Covington, they needed to sacrifice Clint Capela, which left them a huge hole at the center position. Still, though they currently don't have a starting-caliber center on their roster, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta said in a recent interview with Kirk Bohls of Statesman that he's very confident about Houston's chances of representing the Western Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals.
"We're really good," Fertitta said.
"We've lost a few games on last-second 3-pointers when we were ahead by two or we would be right there as the second seed now. But I'm not worried about anybody in the West."Fertitta made it clear that he has huge respect for Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Denver Nuggets. It's just that after going up against a team like the Warriors for years, Fertitta said that the Rockets are no longer scared to face anyone in the postseason.
"None of us fear L.A. or the Clippers or Denver like we feared Golden State," Fertitta said.
"It's not like how we were scared of them. We could easily win the West this year or get knocked out in the first round. Both L.A. teams, Denver, Houston, we're all excellent teams. Just comes down to somebody gets hot and makes a shot. Our chances are as good as they've ever been."The Lakers, Clippers, and the Nuggets are all indeed formidable teams, but nothing is more problematic that facing a Warriors' team that had four NBA All-Stars on their roster. After losing Kevin Durant in the 2019 NBA free agency and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to injuries, the Warriors aren't expected to contend for the NBA championship or even battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, giving the Rockets one less thing to worry about in their road to the 2020 NBA Finals.
Despite not having a starting-caliber center, the Rockets are currently establishing an impressive performance in the second half of the 2019-20 NBA season. So far, the Rockets have won eight of their last 10 games and are sitting in the No. 4 spot in the Western Conference with a 37-20 record.