Cover Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images


[In the 30 days leading up to the season opener, we'll preview all 30 NBA teams, from Tanking Teams to Lottery Leaders to Warriors Wannabes. Tanking Teams are fighting for the No. 1 pick. Lottery Leaders could make the playoffs, or they could land in the lottery. Warriors Wannabes are title contenders. Then, there are the Warriors in a league by themselves. Team 2 in our preseason rankings is the Houston Rockets. Check back every day for previews of every team in the NBA followed by our complete preseason rankings.]


Key Losses: Trevor Ariza, Luc Mbah a Moute, Ryan Anderson, Tarik Black, Joe Johnson. For a team that was very underrated defensively last season, losing Ariza, Black, and Mbah a Moute could prove to be more painful than people realize. Anderson and Johnson both had their moments with the Rockets, but the players brought in to replace them are more than capable of matching their offensive production.


Key Additions: Carmelo Anthony, Marquese Chriss, Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Knight. To some, "key" might not the correct word for Melo, but he could potentially play a huge role at times during the season. James Harden and Chris Paul are elite facilitators, so look for Melo to have some glorious scoring opportunities on a regular basis. Chriss had a tumultuous time in Phoenix and he'll certainly welcome a change of scenery, immediately jumping from the bottom of the standings all the way to the top. His main issue is staying out of foul trouble -- if he can keep his hands to himself, he'll be just fine. People may not remember, but Carter-Williams was actually the Rookie of the Year in 2014 with the Philadelphia 76ers. If he and Knight can stay healthy, the Rockets' second unit will have tons of upside once again. 

Key Returns: James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon, Gerald Green, Nene Hilario. The Rockets were one game shy of reaching the NBA Finals last season, and they've got as good a shot as anyone to dethrone the Golden State Warriors. Harden took home the MVP award and he'll look to make sure yet another late-season collapse doesn't happen. CP3's injury woes are becoming an annual occurrence, but if he's healthy that dethroning could come sooner than anyone saw coming. Tucker will take on a bigger role with the absence of Ariza and Anderson, while Gordon (the 2017 Sixth Man of the Year) will keep at it with his persistent scoring off the bench.

X-Factor: Clint Capela. In order for the Rockets to take the next step, their big man has to be more consistent. There are times when Capela completely disappears on the court, due to matchups or lack of effort, and his team cannot afford to have that happen in a Western Conference that'll be more competitive than ever 


Betting Odds: The Rockets over/under win total is 55.5 and they have +800 odds to win the NBA championship.


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Al Walsh is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Al Walsh also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username 14AdotWalsh. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.