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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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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