Are the Houston Rockets a legitimate contender?
The Houston Rockets finished last season with the second-best record in the loaded Western Conference. They made it all the way to the conference finals with a banged up roster then essentially swapped Josh Smith for Ty Lawson this summer.
But are they legitimate championship contenders? Here's CBS Sports with a closer look at the other teams Houston will compete against next season:
"Harden carried a ridiculous load, and let's be honest, they easily could have, and probably should have been bounced by the Clippers in the second round after going down 3-1 in the series and trailing by as many as 19 points in the third quarter of Game 6. A lot of wonky things made it a special year for Houston, and special years are hard to duplicate. In the end, for all their improvement, there does still seem to be a gap between the Rockets and stone-cold title contenders like Golden State, San Antonio and Oklahoma City."
There are so many ridiculously good teams out west, including all the teams mentioned above, plus the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers.
It's impossible to predict which one will stay healthy and make it all the way through to the Finals, but on paper the Rockets are as talented as anybody.
(h/t: CBS Sports)