Despite adding Dwight Howard, who was announced Wednesday as the All-NBA second team center, the Rockets still bowed out of the NBA playoffs in the opening round. James Harden, named first team All-NBA for the first time in his career, said he thought the Rockets could be in good position for improvement even with only minor changes to the roster.
The Rockets had indicated a desire to pursue a top free agent in the offseason and yesterday there were reports that the Rockets plan to decline the option on Chandler Parsons contract and make him a restricted free agent. That decision must be made at the end of June and could merely pave the way for the Rockets to secure Parsons' services long-term, albeit at a substantial raise.
Harden was asked Wednesday if he thought the Rockets needed to make a major addition or rather try to cultivate what they already have.
"I think we have a lot already, a couple of smaller moves would be good for us," Harden said. "I don't know if necessarily the big move would help us out a lot, we have a lot of good things in our locker room, a lot of young guys that want to get better and want to work. Maybe a couple of small moves and we'll be right here we want to be."
Harden also said he had talked to Parsons a little on on Wednesday and was hopeful the team and Parsons group could work together to keep him in pace with the Rockets. "He's just key. He's a big piece of our team to our puzzle to where we want to go," Harden said. "Hopefully (Rockets general manager) Daryl Morey and the front office and Chandler and his team can get everything worked out. Like I said, he's a major piece to this puzzle, hopefully he can get it worked out and we can keep the ball rolling."
The Rockets were one of the youngest teams in the league and had a pair of second year players, Terrence Jones and Pat Beverley, joining Howard, Harden and Parsons in the main starting lineup. Beverley was tops among 2nd year players in steals per game and was voted second team All-Defense. Jones, trailed only Detroit's Andre Drummond among second year players in field goal percentage and averaged 12.1 points and 6.9 rebounds per game while leading the Rockets with 76 games played.
Houston was one of three NBA teams to have multiple players voted as All-NBA selections. The Rockets playoff series with the Blazers was the only series this postseason that featured four All-NBA selections. Portland's Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge were each voted to third team.