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Here's why trusting Nick Caserio to push the right buttons for Texans is complicated

We're going to learn a lot about Caserio in the coming weeks. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Many times when a franchise is in serious flux, it's because of a few reasons: an all-time great has retired leaving the team looking for that person's replacement, one or several key players have suffered serious/career-threatening injuries, or said player is getting ready to retire. Rarely is it the case the Texans are dealing with in which a player like Deshaun Watson (their 25-year-old franchise quarterback) is allegedly demanding to be traded.

Nick Caserio undoubtedly took the Texans general manager job thinking he had a franchise quarterback in the fold and re-signed to an extension. However, he quickly found out that wasn't the case. As the Watson drama continues to drag out, Caserio is also faced with the difficulty of reshaping a roster with salary cap issues that's more mangled than a hand caught in a garbage disposal.

Every day, we're watching the headlines waiting for the next shoe to drop. Will Fuller wasn't franchise tagged, so he'll be a free agent. Nick Martin was released, along with a few others. The house cleaning needs to continue. When David Johnson was brought back into the fold, I was a bit shocked. His deal will pay him anywhere from $4.25-6 million, but that money could've been better spent somewhere else. Which begs the question: can we trust Caserio to push all the right buttons to bring this franchise back to being a playoff contender?

The Easterby factor

Some will say they don't trust him to do what's right because he's a first time general manager who's in the back pocket of Jack Easterby. Caserio spent two decades in New England learning what to do, and not do, from Bill Belichick. Easterby plucked him from that situation because he knew Caserio would owe him if he got the job. Given that Easterby did so and apparently has ambitions to run a football team, one would think Caserio would be totally beholden to Easterby's desires and let him make decisions. Looking back at the moves Bill O'Brien made with Easterby in his ear, we see this isn't the most wise thing to do.

On the flip side, I think Caserio will do well. Despite the Watson drama, I expect him to come out smelling like roses. He's already taken the "we're not trading the player" approach. All the leaks about Watson's demands appear to be coming from his camp and not off Kirby. Taking this approach will not only create mystery, but it'll also drive up the price. I love how he's getting rid of the dead weight as well. Being in cap hell isn't easy, but I think he's doing the best he can given the situation. As I mentioned previously, he spent 20 or so years in New England learning under Belichick. That type of experience is unmatched. Some will say he didn't make any major decisions there. I'd counter that by saying he absorbed enough knowledge to know what he'd do differently if given the chance.

Ultimately, I think Caserio will right this ship. I also think he'll get a great haul for Watson if he trades him. He hasn't done anything too terrible yet to say he's worse than any previous regime, although re-signing Johnson was quite puzzling. Trading Watson and what he makes of those draft picks will define his legacy here. I think he will do okay. Will he hit homers on every pick? No, no one ever does. But will he make the right moves and put this team back together and into playoff contention? I believe so, and it'll happen within the next two years. Mark my words.

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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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