Rockets Mavericks Basketball

Rockets Mavericks Basketball

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) of Germany defends as Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) drives to the basket Wednesday in Dallas

AP

After a short-handed Houston Rockets squad logged an impressive, nationally televised victory Saturday over the defending champion Golden State Warriors, fans had to be feeling good about this season’s team.

What might be making fans even more confident is that this Rockets team has a familiar feel for Houstonians.

In Monday’s win over the Miami Heat, the Rockets were at full health for the first time in more than a month, and a quick look up and down the roster showed a team ridiculously deep with talent. Now, head coach Mike D’Antoni has one of those good types of problems: how to give all these players a proper amount of playing time.

Of course, in the offseason, the Rockets notably pulled the trigger on a major trade that has helped pushed them to championship contender status, acquiring veteran point guard and perennial all-star Chris Paul.

The Rockets also made some sneaky-good, under-the-radar free agent acquisitions with Luke Mbah a Moute, P.J. Tucker and, most recently, Gerald Green. They join Trevor Ariza to form a strong defensive rotation of rangy swingmen that can defend multiple positions and knock down open 3-pointers.

This season has seen the pleasantly surprising rise of young center Clint Capela, who is showing flashes of superstar potential.

Where have we seen these types of developments before? How about with the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros?

The Astros brought a ridiculously deep lineup to the 2017 season, boasting an offense that frequently piled up an amazing amount of runs. Manager A.J. Hinch changed the starting lineup almost every game during the regular season in order to get his gluttony of talent their fair share of playing time.

Although they waited until, literally, the final seconds to do so, the Astros pulled the trigger on a major trade to elevate the team to championship contender status, bringing in veteran ace pitcher and perennial all-star Justin Verlander.

In the offseason, the Astros made some under-the-radar, sneaky-good free agent pickups with outfielder Josh Reddick and catcher Brian McCann, who both brought a veteran presence and consistent hitting to the team.

The 2017 season also saw young Astros third baseman Alex Bregman step up to everyday starter status, with flashes of superstar potential shown.

Any of these Astros developments during the 2017 season sound familiar?

There’s still a lot of season and postseason yet to be played, but if this Rockets team remains healthy and happy, fans should be excited. After all, Houstonians have already seen how a very similar story ends, and it’s good.

James LaCombe: 409-683-5242, james.lacombe@galvnews.com or on Twitter @JamesAtGalvNews

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