I think everyone under valued the Rockets before the season, but I’m not sure their ceiling is much higher than 55-wins 2nd round team for the next one. They are near-perfect for a D’Antoni system, with Harden being the perfect driver for this fast-paced car.
Problem is, like you said, an offense this potent needs a secondary star, if not superstar. Gordon and Lou might come close, but just look at Harden’s near 6 turnovers (I don’t understand how everyone seems to ignore this stat) and one might say is performance has actually been a tad overrated, if not for anything else, because like Westbrook, he also has to do too much. The perfect brand of players are there: superstar play-maker, 3 and D types, defensive anchor and rolling big-man to force the defense to colapse and a nice 6th (and 7th) man who can score at will from time to time. There’s just not another constant relief option that works consistently. Even D’Antoni’s Suns had Stoudemire and JJ, both more consistently playable and reliable than undersized Gordon and Lou.
I’d say let Nene walk and hope for the best with M. Harell, unless Nene signs for the cheap. Take a shot at someone with potential in FA (who might be undervalued for some reason) instead of playing it safe and hope for Dekker to be another version of L.Will and Gordon who, even if not consistently, can relief Harden and put pressure on Anderson’s spot.
They need another legit star (if not superstar) to make a big leap and they can’t get one now, but they might in 2019. For now, a better Dekker and another reliable option would probably be enough to compete/achieve a 2nd seed next season and look less Harden dependent. As always, it’s easier said than done.