This year naming Houston's best pro sports franchise feels like judging a state-fair ugly contest — even first prize needs a little makeup to leave the house. But given the competition this year (even the Dynamo were basement dwellers as of this writing), the Rockets still win this category going away. When Kevin McHale's squad was cut down by Damian Lillard's season-ending three-point dagger at the Game 6 buzzer in the Western Conference first round, well, it was still the playoffs, and it also saved fans the pain of watching their team's inevitable extermination at the hands of eventual NBA champs/I-10 rival San Antonio. In the offseason, GM Daryl Morey and his team flirted with big-time free agents Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony but couldn't pull the trigger, and they somehow let fan favorite Chandler Parsons get away to the hated Mavericks; all they came away with was journeyman guard Trevor Ariza. Not much of a master plan, but then 2013 second-round pick Isaiah Canaan led the Rockets' Summer League team to the championship game, a rare glimmer of hope in a weird time for Houston sports, and perhaps a clue that Morey knows what he's doing after all. We hope.