Houston Rockets: 20-1

The Spurs used last season to reveal how motivating a bitter defeat could be; they plowed throughout the league to win their fifth ring, avenging the catastrophic loss to the Heat in 2013.
On a smaller scale, perhaps that exact same narrative will play out for the Houston Rockets, who bowed out of the postseason against a Blazers club few anticipated would offer immunity.
The Rockets will hope to do more this year. They’ll have less to use than they did. Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik are elsewhere, thinning a spinning that didn’t have much thickness. And, of course, his Texas address has shifted.
James Harden and Dwight Howard stay, and they’ll be tested more rigorously than ever before.
If Trevor Ariza averts the post-contract letdown so many expect and if Terrence Jones takes another step ahead, Houston could be more dangerous than it had been a year ago.
However, when measured against Dallas and Golden State, whose title chances are the like Houston’s–and whose rosters enhanced after decidedly more impressive playoff runs last year–the Rockets seem like the team least likely to deliver those 20-1 odds.

Read more: worldmedia.media