Giving Thanks for Houston Pro Sports

Deshaun Watson is a superstar among a group of talented young superstars in Houston pro sports.
Deshaun Watson is a superstar among a group of talented young superstars in Houston pro sports. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Being thankful for sports can be a tricky thing in Houston. Depending on the year, we might have a city full of teams all vying for championships or the literal opposite. We can be pleasantly surprised or wildly disappointed. It is heavily reliant upon timing.

In 2018, Houston pro sports fans have a lot to be thankful for. Sure, the Astros didn't make it back to the World Series and the Rockets got off to a tough start, but there is a lot of hope to be had, and the kind that is based on evidence, not just wishes and dreams.

All three general managers seem to be tops among their peers.

Now that the Rick Smith era has come to a close, it could be argued that there are no better group of GMs in any city in America. Jeff Lunhow and Daryl Morey have reached almost mythic status with their combination of data analytics and sports sense. Now, Brian Gaine joins them as someone who turned out perhaps the best draft class (so far anyway) in years over on Kirby Drive.

To make matters even more appealing — at least where the Rockets and Astros are concerned — they seem to be paired with owners hungry to win and willing to open their wallets to do it.

The Rockets have bounced back from a rough start.

You couldn't have scripted a much worse start for the Houston Rockets. Starting the season 1-5, the looked like a mess at both ends of the court. But, the combination of a little health, some screw tightening defensively and some fresh legs in the rotation (that includes the addition-by-subtraction move to "part ways" with Carmelo Anthony), and suddenly the team looks like the one we watched miss the NBA Finals by one game (and one pulled hamstring) last season.

They still have a ways to go to get back to where they want to be, but the schedule gets a little easier and the team seems to be clicking at the moment. Thank God.

There is young talent spread across all the teams' rosters.

Deshaun Watson, Deandre Hopkins, Jadeveon Clowney, James Harden, Clint Capela, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa ... the list of young, high end talent in Houston is remarkable. It's essentially a golden age of athletes for the three pro teams.

The Astros remain extremely talented...and hungry.

They may not have made it back to the World Series, but the Astros clearly aren't done. Their roster is still loaded and it seems clear Jim Crane, Lunhow and staff are going to be aggressive during the hot stove league this offseason. They have already made a move to get younger (and lighter in the wallet) in trading for Aledmys Diaz, a young utility player that will likely take the place of Marwin Gonzales. And they appear active in their attempts to re-sign Charlie Morton as well as bring in a front line starter (Corey Kluber?) a big bat (Paul Goldschmidt?), or both.

The Texans have won seven straight after opening 0-3.

All those who thought the Texans would win seven straight after opening the season 0-3 raise your hands. Put them down, liars. Granted, no one has cashed in on other teams' miscues quite like the Texans and they don't really rate with the likes of the Saints or Chiefs or Rams of the league. But, even if you are only the best of the also rans, it's better than being among them. And since anything can happen in one game, better to get to the playoffs and take your chances than sit on the sidelines and hope for next season.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke