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This is James Harden’s best chance to shut up his loudest critics

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Harden and the Rockets both have their flaws, but we’re expecting both to bounce back after last year’s disaster.

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We’ve arrived at last year’s playoff clubs in our team-by-team countdown series, though the Rockets may as well have been a lottery team considering their mind-boggling 2015-16 season. Houston entered last season as a sleeper title contender and ended it with one of the most uninspiring, lazy and frustrating playoff campaigns in league history.

But a new season brings a fresh start, even if the roster has obvious deficiencies. To help us decide if last year was a blip or a sign of things to come, Ethan Rothstein from SB Nation’s Rockets blog The Dream Shake joined the show.

Among the topics discussed:

  • If neutrals like Mike wanted to throw their remote at the TV when watching the Rockets, how did actual Rockets fans deal with last year’s disappointment?
  • What exactly went wrong? Did it all center around the tension between James Harden and Dwight Howard? Were there other factors? How much of a factor was Harden’s poor leadership?
  • Is Mike D’Antoni the right coach to fix the Rockets’ biggest issues?
  • What goodies can we expect from an offense built around D’Antoni’s principles, Harden’s playmaking and the floor spacing provided by Ryan Anderson, et al? In contrast, is there any way the Rockets can avoid being one of the league’s worst defensive teams?
  • How do Rockets fans feel about the larger perception of Harden’s game? We’re all predicting a bounce-back season for Harden this year. Will that actually materialize?

Next up: the Memphis Grizzlies.

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