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Houston Rockets: 20-1

The Spurs used last season to show us how motivating a bitter defeat could be; they plowed through the group to win their fifth ring, avenging the devastating loss to the Heat in 2013.
On a smaller scale, possibly that same narrative will perform for the Houston Rockets, who bowed out of the postseason against a Blazers club few anticipated would offer resistance.
The Rockets will expect to do more this season. Unfortunately, they’ll have less to work with than they did. Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are elsewhere, thinning a rotation which didn’t have much thickness. And, of course, his Texas address has been shifted by Parsons.
James Harden and Dwight Howard stay, and they’ll be tested more rigorously than before.
If Trevor Ariza averts the post-contract letdown so many anticipate and when Terrence Jones takes another step forward, Houston could be more harmful than it was a year ago.
But when measured against Dallas and Golden State, whose name chances are exactly the like Houston’s–and whose rosters enhanced after decidedly more impressive playoff runs last season –the Rockets look like the group least likely to deliver on those 20-1 odds.

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