After a season of mediocre .500 ball and a handful of changes this offseason, the Houston Rockets are tough to project for 2016-17.
Not for Jeff Van Gundy. The former Houston coach thinks this new Rockets squad will be extremely strong on one side of the ball.
“Defensively, they’re going to be challenged,” said Van Gundy. “But offensively, they’re an absolute juggernaut.”
Van Gundy spoke with Adam Clanton of SportsTalk 790 on Friday to discuss Yao Ming as he’s set to go into the Hall of Fame this weekend, taking time to talk about this year’s Rockets as well.
Calling new coach Mike D’Antoni a “home run hire”, Van Gundy thinks the Rockets will win 50 games.
“I think they’re going to be impossible to guard,” said Van Gundy. “The only issue is the guys they signed are talented, talented offensive players and shooters, but can they hold up? Nene to me is a great value signing, a very low contract and a very productive player. (Ryan) Anderson and (Eric) Gordon have had multiple injuries these past few years. If they can stay healthy, I think they’re a 50-win team.”
Van Gundy also said he “chuckles” all the time at the criticism of James Harden, who he calls an “absolute elite player.”
“I never heard this criticism of Steve Nash,” said Van Gundy. “No one was talking about his defense. They were talking about what a great offensive talent he was.”
It’s an excellent interview and you can listen to it in its entirety here.