Overcoming for the future

Are the Rockets' problems solved after the win Tuesday night?

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After the Rockets four game losing streak, they were finally able to pull off a win against the Timberwolves. It took them to the end of the 3rd quarter to grasp the lead. Are teams starting to figure out the Rockets strategy of the small ball rotation?

In the last four games, the Rockets shot 29% from three. Things have looked tough for a team who shoots nothing but three-point shots. The three-point shot is part of the Rockets small ball equation. So, to see that the Rockets shot 39% from three Tuesday night, was relieving. This is the type of confidence the Rockets need going forward.

The Rockets biggest struggle has been rebounding the basketball. Opposing teams in the last five games have outrebounded the Rockets 242 to 198. Hopefully Daryl Morey made the right decision of trading Clint Capela. The Rockets have been struggling the in the paint. At first, Robert Covington and PJ Tucker did a great job of rebounding for the team. But, are these two guys wearing down? They make up for 73 rebounds together in the last five games. This is not even half of the team's rebounds. Russell Westbrook is a great rebounder but has much bigger things on his plate.

Even though James Harden is averaging 28.2 ppg these last five games, he is shooting 37.3% from the field. Hopefully Harden finds his stroke again after scoring 37 points Tuesday night. He is the most important factor if the Rockets want to finish the season strong. It is important that Harden builds his confidence before the playoffs start in Houston. Harden has also struggled with turnovers in these last five games. Against the Magic he had 10 but Tuesday night 3. Which is much better for Harden because it allows the team to flow.





Westbrook on the other hand, is still able to stay consistent after being snubbed for Western Conference Player of the Month. Even though he played three games in the Rockets four game losing streak, Westbrook was still consistent. He is averaging 26 ppg and shooting 47.5% from the field in five games. After beating the Timberwolves Tuesday night, Westbrook and Harden look to be on the same page again. Things were starting to look shaky again after playing well together in February.



Things will not get easier for the Rockets because they play the Lakers next on Thursday. Hopefully, the Rockets stay consistent with their new style of play.

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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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