The Houston Rockets had their chance to head to the NBA Finals a couple of years ago. They were up on the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in 2018 before Chris Paul injured his leg. Now Paul is gone, and in his place is Russell Westbrook.
But does that make them any more of a favorite to make it to the Finals?
The Rockets are certainly hoping so, and it appears that owner Tilman Fertitta knows this is a big opportunity. For once it’s the Warriors who are entering the season banged up, and Houston finally has an opening.
“I think we put ourselves in the position that if we don’t win it in the next three or four years, we probably aren’t going to win one in the next 10 years,” Fertitta told Yahoo Sports in an interview to promote his debut book titled “Shut Up And Listen,” which hits all major bookstores on Tuesday. “This is our window, and we need to seize the opportunity.”
This is completely reasonable. Most teams get a championship window in the 2-to-4 year range, and although Fertitta’s estimation might be a little generous, now is the time for the Rockets to strike while the iron is hot.
It’s not as though James Harden and Westbrook will have any less competition out west. Several teams bolstered their rosters, and of course the Los Angeles Clippers are now the favorites to take over the reins in California.
Fertitta is right, however. If there was a time to count out the Warriors at season’s start, 2019 would be it. They best get to winning some games early.