Can Rockets make the playoffs?

Houston's reinvented roster, philosophy on offense driving postseason push

Updated: March 8, 2013, 4:37 PM ET
By Justin Kubatko | Basketball-Reference
Houston RocketsNed Dishman/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe new-look Rockets have a very good shot of making the playoffs this season.

Heading into the final 20 games of the regular season, the Houston Rockets continue to be one of the most surprising, not to mention entertaining, teams in the NBA.

Picked by most pundits to be on the outside looking in come the postseason, the Rockets find themselves in the thick of a tight four-team race for the final three spots in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Rockets have managed to put themselves within striking distance of their first playoff appearance since 2009 despite radical changes to their roster over the past year, not to mention significant shifts in their offensive philosophy.

Just 35.3 percent of Houston's minutes have been allocated to players who were on their roster last season, the second-lowest percentage in the NBA. Two of those players -- Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson -- were moved before the trade deadline, leaving Chandler Parsons and Greg Smith as the only players from last season's team who are still on the Rockets' active roster.

Seven teams have allocated less than 50 percent of their minutes to returning players this season, and the Rockets are the only one of those teams to post a winning record thus far. In fact, the other six teams -- the Bobcats, Hornets, Magic, Mavericks, Suns and Wizards -- have a combined winning percentage of .323, well below Houston's .532 winning percentage.