How Houston Rockets can benefit from implementing blueprint from NBA's elite
As we watch the NBA Finals, we’re seeing two teams that were built primarily through the draft. Especially when it comes to their stars that have carried their respective teams thus far this season. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Jordan Poole were all drafted by the Warriors. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart were all drafted by the Celtics. Sure, both teams have added several key players via trade and free agency, but they’re both clearly led by guys the team drafted and grew into stars. The Warriors did win two of their three titles with this team after they brought on hired gun Kevin Durant, but to say they’ve gotten back here with their homegrown core again speaks to the importance of that core group.
When I look at the Rockets, I see some of the same potential. It may be hard to see through all the fog and weeds, but I can see it. Jalen Green looks like he could be the real deal. You need an alpha dog in your pack in order to make the playoffs. To compete in the playoffs, that alpha will need running mates. If the team expects to compete for titles, those running mates have to have some alpha dog in them. Kevin Porter Jr and Alperen Sengun appear to be those guys currently on the roster. At 22, KPJ is the senior of this group, since Green is 20 and Sengun is still 19. Both of those guys have shown the ability to ball out and also have great potential to continue growing. Don’t forget about Josh Christopher (20). That kid could actually be Green’s running mate if KPJ can’t get his head on straight. If KPJ gets himself together and stays, look for Christopher to be instant offense off the bench.
Christian Wood (26) was left off my list simply because he’s made his demand to be a max player on his next contract. He’s also made his feeling known that he wants the ball and to be the man. Rumors of him being traded have continued to heat up. While that doesn’t mean a hill of beans until something is done, moving on from Wood could help bring in a vet that could help the young pups grow into full-blown dogs. Owning the third overall pick with three really good bigs available is another reason to move on from Wood. Not to mention Sengun is a better passer, getting better at rebounding, and has a game that blends better with Green and KPJ.
I’m not saying this team will be in the NBA Finals in four years from now, but they could be competing at a high level within the next few years…IF these young guys continue to develop, the front office drafts well, and they find the right trade pieces/free agents. We may not get to see any of this come to fruition, but the possibility is there. I believe this team will be in the playoffs in the next two years, Jalen Green will be an All-Star, and Christopher will be in the running for Sixth Man of the Year. The Rockets are putting together a nice gumbo. The ingredients are there. The roux is done. Everything has been added. Now we wait.