The post-James Harden era for the Houston Rockets did not go smoothly last season. After the all-star guard was traded, the Rockets finished the season with the worst record in the NBA (17-55). Second-year head coach Stephen Silas now gets an offseason with no drama. The Rockets have a lot of young talent, but their fans may have to suffer through another bad season while their players develop. This is a Houston Rockets 2021-22 season preview.
Houston Rockets 2021-22 Season Preview
When evaluating this Rockets team, the big three names to discuss are Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., and Christian Wood. Green was the second overall pick in this year’s draft. He is considered to be the best scoring prospect in the draft and could average 20 points per game as a rookie. Kevin Porter Jr. was given away by the Cleveland Cavaliers last season for a second-round pick. He proved the Cavaliers gave up on him too soon when he averaged 16.6 points and 6.3 assists in a point guard role in 26 games. The Rockets took a gamble on Christian Wood the last offseason after he had a mini-breakout towards the second half of the 2019-20 season with the Detroit Pistons. The gamble paid off with Wood averaging 21 points and 9.6 rebounds as the starting center.
Veterans John Wall and Eric Gordon may not be on the team much longer. Wall met with the Rockets recently and will not play in any games until he is traded. Gordon hasn’t requested a trade but as a 32-year-old veteran with an injury history chances are he will miss time this year. Other key pieces on this team include all-rookie first-team selection Jae’Sean Tate, as well as first-round rookies Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba, and Josh Christopher. Free-agent acquisition Daniel Theis will provide mentorship to this young Rockets team. Second-year small forward Kenyon Martin Jr. also flashed his potential by playing well at the end of last season.
Potential Trades and Roster Moves
The best move that the Rockets can make for their roster is to trade their veteran players. Wall and Gordon are being paid 40 million and 20 million respectively over the next two seasons. Considering they are taking playing time away from Green and Porter Jr., it would be best for Wall and Gordon to go somewhere where they can compete for a championship. One trade target the Rockets should go for is Ben Simmons. If they can manage to do a Wall plus picks for Simmons that is an option that could immediately improve their team. The financials of that deal don’t exactly line up both that could be a win-win for both sides.
Unfortunately for Rockets fans, this season is going to be another tough one to endure. The Rockets roster looks the same as it did last year with the addition of the rookies and Theis. The best three players on the team all have question marks. Green is a rookie, so while he looked like a future star in the summer league so did Lonzo Ball. Porter Jr. has immense upside but the sample size was small last year and his efficiency and defense are a work in progress. Wood only played in 41 of a possible 72 games last season due to injury. If all goes well with the Rockets, then they have an outside chance at getting into the play-in tournament. But all signs point to them finishing as a bottom-three team in the western conference again this year.
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