What the Houston Rockets Can do Over Offseason to Become a 55-Plus Win Team Next Season

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Jan 11, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith (5) defends Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) during the fourth quarter at Philips Arena. The Hawks won 105-93. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency: Who Should Houston Seek to Sign to Play Power Forward?

The Rockets will be in the market for a starting power forward this summer. All resumes can be sent to Daryl Morey ℅ Rocket Nation. Applicants must enjoy running the fast break, love grabbing rebounds and be able to swat a few shots.

There’s really only a couple guys who fit this mold. And they both bring slightly different packages to the table.

Paul Millsap and Josh Smith are both combo forwards best suited to the 4-spot. But they both can slide over to small forward. Both can shoot threes, and Millsap probably truthfully does it better, but Smith thinks he does. Both are pretty solid rebounders.

But there are really two big things which make Smith a better fit in Houston (and it really is just that, because Millsap is a superior player):

1) Smith has elite athleticism. That will help him finish off a lot of Lin/Harden lob passes.

2) Smith is a major shot blocker. It’s kind of a given with his explosive leaping abilities.

A third could be thrown in that Millsap is undersized, but it’s never really hurt his career before, and with a high basketball IQ and ability to use one’s body ergonomically while boxing out, those two to three inches in size can be easily compensated. Millsap is a generously listed 6’8″ while Smith is 6’10”. But it’s really the fact that Smith plays so far above the rim which gives him the advantage, at least in Houston.