4 NBA teams that are one move away from title contention

The NBA has recently seen increased parity, giving more teams a chance to win. Some are closer than others but here are four that one move away from contention.
Boston Celtics versus Indiana Pacers during Game 4
Boston Celtics versus Indiana Pacers during Game 4 / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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3) Houston Rockets

Another Western Conference team, Houston appears to be stuck in the middle as a team. The Rockets roster is in the middle of a rebuild, but Alperen Sengun, Jalen Green, and Jabari Smith Jr. have stuck out as the building blocks long-term. After signing several veterans last offseason, including Fred VanVleet, Houston seems determined to win now even with a young roster. After a 41-41 (11th in the West) season with Ime Udoka at the helm, Houston wants to accelerate their timeline.

The Rockets made a big trade with Brooklyn, swapping draft capital so the Nets could rebuild with all of their picks. The significance of Houston's return: the Phoenix Suns and Kevin Durant. The Nets gave Houston draft assets that belong to the Suns, who could be in store for a devastating end to the Kevin Durant experiment. With an Alperen Sengun extension looming, the Rockets could lock in their franchise centerpiece long-term. Houston drafted Reed Sheppard third overall in the draft as well.

Ime Udoka's team identity is built on defense and versatility. With the new draft assets and interest in adding a star player to their roster, Houston could target Jimmy Butler, Brandon Ingram, or Zach LaVine, via trade this offseason. If one of those high-level wings is acquired, combined with an Alperen Sengun extension, improved consistency from Jalen Green, and progression from Jabari Smith Jr., Houston could have one of the better rotations in the league.

Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore appear ready for bigger roles in year two of their careers, Tari Eason and Jae'Sean Tate provide depth at forward, and the Rockets just traded for AJ Griffin. Steven Adams, Jeff Green, Jock Landale, and Dillon Brooks are veterans of the roster. Houston arguably has the deepest roster in the league, with every player capable of playing significant minutes on a 'per game'. However, Houston lacks a star, making their depth expendable if they want to win now.