There is a Six Degrees of Dwight Howard component to this NBA free agency season, a like-it-or-not reality that his ultimate destination would have a ripple effect on the rest of the league.
So it is, then, that the verdict on who won and who lost in this high stakes job fair that is still ongoing must begin there: the Houston Rockets, make no mistake, got a whole lot better when Howard chose on Friday to leave the Los Angeles Lakers behind and head their way.
He was the biggest fish in the league’s pond, and they were the most aggressive fisherman in the lot that also included the Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, and Atlanta Hawks. Now the Rockets, who landed James Harden in a stunning trade last October and used their new star player to help lure another one in, officially join the top class of the parity-filled Western Conference.
Being better, however, is a very different distinction from being the best.