Updated: Sep 16, 2020
On Thursday night, the Lakers were able to fend off Houston's comeback. And now they're up 3-1. It's very likely that they are going to be eliminated in from championship contention in the next contest, so what are they going to do next?
So far, acquiring Russell Westbrook has been a good move for the franchise, but it wasn't good enough. Like his former OKC teammate, Paul George, Westbrook has been splendid throughout the regular season, but inconsistent throughout the playoffs. Surprisingly, before the NBA season was postponed, he averaged a better field-goal percentage than his teammate, James Harden.
But the small-ball lineup has been more detrimental than beneficial to the team. They traded away the 6'10" Clint Capela and 6'11" Nenê for Robert Covington and Jordan Bell, who was then traded to the Memphis Grizzlies for the 6'9" Bruno Caboclo. As of now, the tallest player on the Rockets roster is the 7-foot veteran Tyson Chandler. He only played in one playoff game this season, and that was to only attempt free throws. His presence is not much of a factor on the court.
Houston has one of the shortest lineups in NBA history, and the shortest in the league right now. To guard Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee, they will need at least one efficient 6'10"-or-taller player on the court. So what are some signings that the Rockets can make during the offseason? Here are five potential players that Houston
Serge Ibaka is one of the most reputed power forwards in the league, with the ability to shoot the long ball, mid-range, or attack in the paint; a three-level scorer. He is also an elite defender and can guard tall offensive threats in the paint and along the perimeter. He was a part of the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder, along with Westbrook and Harden, and would probably enjoy a reunion. Together, this big three can go for a deep playoff run in the west.
Christian Wood is arguably one of the most efficient big men that this offseason has to offer. At 6'11", he brings a bit more to the table than Ibaka, including size and his youth. But he isn't a guaranteed signing, as he plays an important part in Detroit and they could offer more than Houston. If Wood wants to win more, he might want to stay in Detroit because Pistons GM Troy Weaver has a rebuild project on his hand that could potentially lead to making the playoffs. They might be able to even get another high draft pick in 2021, which would really boost the team's success. Christian Wood also has a couple of other suitors, which might be a tough decision for him.
Tristan Thompson is a player which you can expect three things confidently: rebounding, finishing, and defense. He is a beast in the paint on both ends of the court in terms of attacking inside and blocking. He would bring an elite defensive presence to Houston when it comes to guarding the paint. Although, he is likely to return to Cleveland, as they are desperate for him and willing to offer enough money to keep his interests. Thompson has also been part of the franchise since the LeBron-era, and is a fan favorite of the Cavs. If he joins the Rockets, he will be of great value and his minutes will have to be balanced to keep him healthy throughout the season.
Notable mentions: Hassan Whiteside, Derrick Favors, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard
If Houston can pull off even one of these deals, they'll be a real championship contender.