The Houston Rockets regressed massively last year as they failed to improve on their Western Conference Finals appearance of 2015.
The relationship between star duo James Harden and Dwight Howard dominated the column inches as the Texas franchise finished eighth in the conference and crashed out to the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
Having seen Dwight Howard depart the organisation for the Atlanta Hawks in free agency, the Rockets have rebuilt their roster with some shrewd additions, but more importantly, have tied down Harden - their undisputed superstar - to a contract extension.
Despite the evident questions about his defence, the franchise still believes he is the man to lead them to a better future, and the shooting guard penned an open letter to supporters that was sent out on social media.
Harden thanked fans for their unconditional support, calling H-Town his home, and stated that the team's aim this season was to bring a championship back to the Toyota Center.
It has been 21 years since Houston stood atop the NBA mountain and nobody is considering them as a real contender in the new age of the Golden State Warriors' 'super team'.
The 26-year-old's comments have been perceived as a dig at what the Dubs have created and he insisted that Houston were a "group of guys that wanted to work hard to be the best."
During a press conference on Saturday where the Rockets introduced free agents Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson while confirming Harden's new deal, there was a lot of talk about Durant's move to the Warriors.
Harden, who came second in the voting for MVP in 2015 behind Stephen Curry, said there was only 'one basketball' and owner Leslie Alexander said, "they have to defend us too."
There is no doubting Harden's scoring ability. The guard finished second in points per game despite the Rockets' average season. But it is other aspects of his play that need work.
As a leader, 'The Beard' has to show the desire to perform the nitty-gritty tasks on defence. Without an inspiring commander, a franchise will fail to achieve; it's time for Harden to be just that.