2009-10 record: 42-40, 9th place in Western Conference
AARON BROOKS has emerged as a borderline All-Star at the point now that he’s improved his jumper to go along with his ridiculous quickness . . . Even with Yao Ming returning, KEVIN MARTIN will be Houston’s go-to scorer. Even if he doesn’t shoot well, he attacks and gets to the line often enough to be a 20-point scorer . . . He’s good enough to start for most teams, but KYLE LOWRY will continue to back up both guard spots in Houston. . . COURTNEY LEE will be battling for a rotation spot; Houston is rolling the dice that he can thrive in their system . . . CHASE BUDINGER is a defensive liability, but he’ll play a key role as a three-point threat. Las Vegas odds.
LUIS SCOLA returns to the role of Yao’s sidekick, doing the rebounding and dirty work alongside him . . . With Trevor Ariza gone, SHANE BATTIER steps out of his sixth-man shell and back into the starting lineup. The rock of this roster, expect him to stay there all year . . . PATRICK PATTERSON is NBA-ready as a rebounder and defender with a little bit of offense, but there’s just not many minutes available . . . JORDAN HILL has to pick up his energy level if he’s going to see any time on the floor. Basketball odds.
YAO MING is back, but don’t expect his foot to be anywhere near 100 percent. The Rockets will have to hold him back . . . He was great playing for Adelman in Sacramento, and BRAD MILLER should be in close to a time-share situation with Yao. Basketball odds.
Sportsbook.com Odds to Win NBA Championship: 30-to-1
2009-10 TEAM STATISTICS
Offense – 102.4 points per game (8th in the NBA)
Defense – 102.7 points per game (21st in the NBA)