The Houston Rockets rebuild off to a great start with Jalen Green.
The Houston Rockets are already off to a much better start in the 2021-22 season than last year, as they kicked off the campaign and their exciting rebuilding process by drafting Jalen Green with the second overall pick. Jalen is one of the many exciting young talents entering the league and is arguably the most athletic player in the draft. He comes to the NBA from the G-league Ignite team and promises to be a future star in this league, but until then, let’s look at what Green will bring to his new team and how the Rockets may perform this coming season.
Houston Rockets Key Players: John Wall, Kevin Porter Jr., and Christian Wood
Despite finishing with the worst record in the league last season, Rockets fans should be excited about their future. Houston struggled to remain competitive in games after trading James Harden and then following that with dealing Victor Oladipo at the trade deadline. The Rockets played most of the season without their two leading players in John Wall and Christian Wood, resulting in multiple defeats due to sheer lack of talent. One could say that there was some less obvious tanking going on in Houston as they focused on giving their young players all the liberty just to go out and play free. This decision by management gave rise to the star of Kevin Porter Jr., who dazzled fans with his scoring and ball-handling ability; KPJ cemented his spot as the point guard of the future for the Houston Rockets.
Jalen Green will instantly slide into the three spots for the Rockets, with Wall and Porter Jr. running the backcourt. Wall is only thirty years old but has been saddled by injuries over the past few years, he may or may not be in the Rockets’ future plans, but his role right now is to be a mentor to these young stars as they try to adapt to the NBA both on and off the court. Playing with two talented point guards will mean many easy buckets and highlights for Green, giving him a chance to play efficient basketball in his first year in the league.
In Christian Wood, they have the prototypical modern NBA big man who can stretch the floor, defend on the perimeter and have the athleticism to play rim-to-rim. Wood and Green on the break could be a problem for opposing teams in the years to come as they will only get better through the trial by fire they are about to face this season. A trio of KPJ, Jalen Green, and Christian Wood has the makings of a playoff team in about 3-5 years, exciting stuff.
For next season, the Rockets will still be among one of the worst teams in the league. Wall’s health is unpredictable, which means his veteran presence on the floor could be something the young guns will miss this season. Green is a great player, but he may not necessarily be at a level where he can come in and transform the fortunes of a franchise overnight.
Don’t worry, Rockets fans, as next year’s draft promises to be another talented one with the likes of Chet Holmgren and Victor Wembanyana possibly headlining the class of 2022. With the young trio, they have, adding another top-pick with tremendous upside may set them up to be a force to reckon with in the near future. The Rockets will be an exciting team to watch, with alley-oops flying all over the place. Still, Houston fans should not expect nor want a winning team next season as the rebuild they should have in mind requires patience and significant in-game experience for their young players.