The extended break will likely ensure some sloppy basketball to start the postseason, and championship favorites could falter due to long layoff. But Rockets general manager Daryl Morey believes the NBA's hiatus could help Houston return to the Finals for the first time since 1995.
“We do feel like our odds have gone up with the restart,” Morey told AT&T SportsNet's Cayleigh Griffin. “Because we probably can’t call ourselves the favorite—we just haven’t played well enough to say that—anything that adds uncertainty to the system is generally good for us.”
Houston's roster is certainly unique in the NBA, sporting a collection of veterans without much cohesion. The Rockets added a slate of new pieces over the season's last month, acquiring Robert Covington, Jeff Green and DeMarre Carroll in February. Those players were quickly cast into the limelight, but they will now return to the floor in July with the benefit of a second training camp before the 2019-20 season resumes.
"We have veterans who have not been with us all year who have contributed to very good playoff teams in the past. They probably didn’t get much of a chance to show what they could do," Morey told Griffin. "But with a new training camp and maybe some games before the playoffs. ...It gives those guys a chance to show coach [Mike] D’Antoni what they can do."
The NBA is targeting July 31 as the season's resumption date. There are several plans under consideration for a return to play, including a slate of regular-season games followed by a play-in tournament to determine the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in each conference.
The Rockets currently sit No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24. They are slated to face the Nuggets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.