There's no safer bet to improve on their 2006 season than the Houston Rockets. Juwan Howard, Rafer Alston, David Wesley, and Luther Head all played more minutes than Yao and Tracy McGrady last year. Acquiring Shane Battier, who has never missed more than four games in an NBA season, even at a significant price, should at least assure that the Rockets at least have a good player available to play more minutes than the members of their guild of role players and would-be role players.
It would probably be foolish to expect a full, healthy season of production from McGrady, but any minutes he contributes beyond the 1746 he played last year will be of greater utility than those contributed by Head, Wesley, Derek Anderson, Keith Bogans, Ryan Bowen, Jon Barry, Moochie Norris, Rick Brunson, and Richie Frahm. That's such a motley collection that Jeff Van Gundy might find Kirk Snyder a breath of fresh air.
If Bob Sura can return from his year lost to micro-fracture surgery, all the better. Luther Head should be more useful in his second year. He could be far more productive than he was as a rookie if McGrady and Yao Ming are drawing attention on the court.
It's not all good news for the Rockets. Somebody's going to have to replace the departed Stromile Swift. Though a disappointment, Swift is still better than Juwan Howard or Ryan Bowen. The Rockets appear to be counting on Chuck Hayes being able to maintain his rebounding (6th in the league in rebound rate) and defensive production (5th in the league in defensive rating) in greatly increased minutes. I think that's unlikely even if Hayes reamins a good bench player.