It is time for a change!

If the season is over, what can the Rockets do differently for next year?

Russell Westbrook

As we know, the NBA season is on a pause since March 13th because of the coronavirus. The Rockets were 40-24 on inconsistent season with a newly acquired Russell Westbrook. The Rockets were not able to find a consistent winning streak this season. Who should the Rockets bring back or look for in free agency?

The Rocket's season started shaky because of the relationship between James Harden and Westbrook on the court. Westbrook was still trying find his true role in Coach Mike D' Antoni system, Harden had a cold streak throughout the month of January, and the Rockets tried a new system towards mid-season. Another thing the Rockets lack is consistency! They have not been consistent since the 2017-2018 season. Does D'Antoni lack that strong presence of a strict coach? Nice guy, but the Rockets need an alpha male coach to get the team's attention.

How the Rockets can overcome those things is establishing a true identity. Knowing the teams' greatest strengths and weaknesses. Also recognizing the bright spots from last season as well. The fact that Westbrook and Harden's chemistry improved towards the end of the season, was a great thing for this team. Plus, the Rockets get more time to perfect the small ball equation with Robert Covington. As we saw the Rockets go on certain win streaks throughout the season with the small ball equation. For the most part, it works, just needs more perfection!

Ever since Daryl Morey traded Clint Capela for Covington, it clears up more cap space. Meaning more space for another wing player in the future. Since 2020 free agency offers Gordon Hayward, DeMar DeRozan, and Danilo Gallinari, players that can fit in the Rockets offense, it would not hurt to see the Rockets throw cash at those guys. Honestly, Hayward and Gallinari would fit better than DeRozan. Probably much cheaper than DeRozan because he will be looking for a max contract. Plus, DeRozan would slow the offense down because of his inability to shoot threes. Gallinari and Hayward can stretch the floor with their shooting. Hayward is unselfish to let Harden and Westbrook run point because of his great cutting skills towards the basket. Gallinari is a great spot up shooter and can score all over the court. Now the Rockets cannot afford both but can make one a contingency plan. Also keeping Jeff Green is not a bad idea as well. The Rockets could keep him for cheap so they can have more of a veteran presence on the team.

The Rockets must do something different if they want to compete for a championship. The west will continue to get harder with Klay Thompson coming back to Golden State.

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Jose Abreu is returning to the Astros. Composite Getty Image.

Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu has been working for a few weeks in Florida to make adjustments to his swing that will hopefully improve his performance when he returns to the big league club.

Initially, we were told there wasn't a timeline to monitor for Abreu's return. He would come back when the results justified his promotion back to the big leagues.

How quickly things can change in a few days. Astros GM Dana Brown and manager Joe Espada told the media this week that Abreu could be back as soon as this Friday.

Which is wild to think that he's already set to return. He's only played in a few games at the Florida Complex, with underwhelming results.

What's the rush here? Why not have him play 10–15 games for the club's Double A and Triple A teams before brining back? Any other player would have to show some results in the minors before being elevated back to the Astros. Chas McCormick has been working his way back from a hamstring injury in the minor leagues, why is Abreu being treated differently?

Even if he does play in a game or two this week before returning on Friday, it doesn't feel like enough reps to justify his return. But apparently a positive report from Jeff Bagwell has the Astros ready to bring him back.

Keep in mind, Abreu has only played in 3 minor league games to this point, going 1-4, 1-5, and 1-5. He does have two doubles, though, if we want to be positive.

Speaking of focusing on the positive, Jeremy Pena spent a lot of time on the backfields during spring training. And clearly that approached worked for him, as he has one of the best batting averages in baseball this season (.326).

One thing is for sure, if Abreu doesn't produce in a hurry, we don't expect him to stay with the club much longer. The team will have to eat the remaining money on his contract and move on.

Which makes us wonder, how long will the leash be? Espada has already said once he returns he's going to play regularly. So if he looks the same for the next several weeks, will that be it for Abreu?

That's why the timing of his return is curious. This doesn't feel like the best thing for Abreu or the Astros. You would think he and the team would have more confidence is his ability to bounce back after producing for a couple of weeks in the minors.

And if he didn't produce in the minors, you have your answer. The game has passed him by, and you know it's best to part ways.

At this point, all the club can do is hope Bagwell is right about the progress he's seeing, and Abreu is able to resurrect his career over the next week or two.

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and Charlie Pallilo discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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