Let’s debunk one of the most tired, baseless narratives surrounding the Rockets

Draft picks don't always work out. Photo by Pool/Getty Images.

Earlier this week, the Houston Rockets drafted Kenyon Martin Jr. with the 52nd pick in the second round of the NBA Draft. Welcome to Houston, Kenyon, you'll like it here – warm weather in the winter, fantastic restaurants, lots of concerts, plenty of cultural events and lots to do. Plus you may get to play basketball with former MVP winners James Harden and Russell Westbrook, pending tweets from Adrian Wojnarowski.

Just one word of advice: rent, don't buy.

Borrowing from what Michael Corleone said in Godfather II, if anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it's that Rockets draft picks don't stick around Houston very long.

Over the past decade, the Rockets have made 16 draft picks. Not one of them still plays for Houston. The average time Rockets draft picks lasted in Houston is less than two years. Heck, some of Larry King's eight marriages lasted longer than that.

Here's a look at the last 10 years of Houston's draft selections. It's not exactly the roster of last year's NBA All-Star Game. More like Whatever Happened To …?


With the 14th selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets pick Marcus Morris from the University of Kansas. Morris played 71 games over two seasons, averaged 2.4 and 8.6 points per game in Houston and was sent packing to Phoenix.

Nikola Mirotic of Real Madrid was taken with the 23rd overall pick. He was immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, later to the Chicago Bulls on draft night.

Chandler Parsons was taken with the 38th pick in the second round. The Florida grad played three seasons in Houston before signing with Dallas as a restricted free agent. Houston told Dallas, "good luck with all that, he's all yours." Parsons embarked on an injury-plagued career, most recently appearing in five games and 2.8 scoring average with the Hawks in 2019.


The Rockets selected Jeremy Lamb, shooting guard from UConn with the overall 12th pick. He played six whole games with the Rockets, and was dispatched to OKC with Kevin Martin, two first-round picks and one second-round pick for James Harden.

The Rockets took Royce White from Iowa State with the 16th pick in the first round. He never played for the Rockets after a tumultuous rookie year in the developmental league battling anxiety issues and fear of flying.

The Rockets selected Terrence Jones from Kentucky with the 18th pick in the first round. Jones lasted four mostly injury-plagued seasons in Houston, eventually landing in New Orleans before returning to Houston for two games in 2018 and calling it an NBA career. He currently starts at center for the Mets de Guaynabo in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional in Puerto Rico.


Isaiah Canaan of Murray State was taken by the Rockets with the 34th pick in the second round. He played three seasons at Toyota Center, averaging 4.6 points in 22 games in 2013, 6.3 points in 25 games in 2014, and no points in one game in 2017. Duncan should hire him to endorse their yo-yo's. He made 13 trips between NBA teams and the development league over five seasons.


The Rockets took center Clint Capela of France with the 25th pick in the first round. Capela spent five years with the Rockets, mostly as the "oop" end of alley-oop passes from James Harden. Capela was exiled to the Hawks last year after the Rockets decided to play "small ball."

The Rockets went with guard Nick Johnson with the 42nd pick in the second round. Johnson appeared in just 28 games with the Rockets, averaging 2.6 points. Johnson was traded to the Denver Nuggets the following year, but was waived after only six pre-season games.


Sam Dekker of Wisconsin was selected with the 18th pick of the first round. He played two seasons in Houston before being traded with seven other Rockets for Chris Paul. Most notable factoid from Dekker's career, J.R. Smith said Dekker was the only teammate he ever hated during his near 20-year NBA career. Now playing in Turkey, he recently offered to sign and play with the Milwaukee Bucks "for free."

Power forward Montrezl Harrell, the 32nd overall pick in the second round, lasted only two years in Houston. He was part of the multi-player trade for Chris Paul. Harrell is flourishing with the Clippers, including being named NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2020.


Frontcourt gamble Chinanu Onuaku, the 37th pick in the second round, played a total of six games, averaging 3 points, for the Rockets. He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks who waived him goodbye four days later. He later was signed, and waived, by the Portland Trail Blazers. He now plays in the Croatia pro league.

Center Zhou Qi, the 43rd pick in the second round, played 19 games over two seasons, averaging 1.3 points. He is now back in his native China playing for the Xinjiang Flying Tigers, the best team nickname in basketball.


Euro star Isaiah Hartenstein was the 43rd player taken in the second round. After a successful career in Lithuania and Germany, he played only 51 games for the Rockets over two seasons. The Rockets waived him this year during the COVID-19 shutdown. Fun fact: Hartenstein was born in Oregon to a German father and American mother. They moved to Germany when Hartenstein's father signed a deal to play in the German pro league.

The Rockets took small forward Dillon Brooks from Canada with the 45th pick in the second round. He was immediately traded to Memphis, never appearing in Rockets gear - other than a baseball cap on draft night.


The Rockets grabbed De'Anthony Melton from USC with the 46th pick in the second round. He was traded to Phoenix before the season started. Now he's with Memphis, the elephant burial ground of Houston draft picks.


The Rockets had no picks in 2019, making it one of their most successful drafts in recent history.

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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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