What was already a fun-to-watch and basketball-solid fringe playoff roster has now entered the contender conversation. With Howard, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, the core is enough to warrant that.
The bench has plenty of shooters too, but who is manning the power forward spot? Is there a point guard controversy brewing between Lin and upstart Patrick Beverly? How long will it take for the Rockets to gel with Howard, and is he both fully healthy and mentally prepared enough to regain the mantle of "NBA's best center?"
Plus, it's not like the Rockets have anything resembling a cakewalk to the Finals when playing in the ultra-competitive Western Conference. Just getting to the final conference round might have to suffice, but can Coach Kevin McHale rise to that challenge as well?
Lead Writer Josh Martin joins NBA Assistant Editors Ethan Norof and Joel C. Cordes for the latest episode of Basketball by Association.
(If the embedded player fails to load, you can find the full episode here.)
We look at the best and worst of the Rockets' offseason, along with the biggest questions heading into 2014. We'll also detail their keys to a successful year while also predicting their final standing.
Basketball by Association cast members and pro hoops analysis can be found at Bleacher Report's Court Vision blog.