10. Houston Rockets
The Rockets were an incredibly average defensive team in the 2012-13 season. They had a defensive rating of 106.1 (16th in the league) and 102.5 points allowed (27th) but with a pace of 96.1 possessions, the Rockets did not have as porous a defense as their numbers looked.
Jeremy Lin and James Harden are an undersized backcourt duo that play at a pace that forgives defensive mistakes. Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson are no defensive wizards either. That’s where Dwight Howard comes in.
In the 2012-13 season, Howard had a defensive rating of 100. With Howard on the floor, the opponents had an offensive rating of 105.5. With Howard off the floor, that offensive rating skyrocketed to 110.5. A healthy Dwight Howard is a game changer on the defensive end of the court.
Expect the Rockets to be in the top-10 in terms of defense. As long as Lin and Harden can funnel their opponents into the paint, Howard should be able to cover their liabilities and then some.