LUCK OF THE DRAW
What the future holds for Wall & Olynyk could come down to this for Rockets
The Houston Rockets have a ton of decisions to make and this offseason is huge because of the NBA Draft and potential signees. Rafael Stone must make critical decisions in the summer regarding Kelly Olynyk and John Wall. Should they re-sign Olynyk, and should they look to trade John Wall?
Honestly, in my opinion, the draft positioning is key for the Rockets' front office. If the Rockets perhaps land the first pick, Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State is the selection, and the second pick would be Evan Mobley of USC. Cunningham would be a perfect match with Kevin Porter Jr. and Mobley would be a great fit working in combination with Christian Wood.
The Rockets have been watching how Porter and Wall play together, and the same can be said for Olynyk and Wood. Both combinations have played well together and enjoy each other's company on the court. These pairings for the Rockets could be experiments for Cunningham or Mobley.
Wall and Porter average 19.5 minutes, 46.6 points, 10.7 assist and shooting 47% from the field, while playing on the same court. These two have played well together by pushing the tempo and sharing the point guard responsibilities. It's easy to tell that Wall is pushing Porter to learn the point guard position more because of their dialogue on the bench. Porter has become a combo guard instead of a wing player.
Cunningham would be the perfect fit for Porter. He brings defense, scoring, playmaking, and leadership. His biggest strengths on defense are fighting over picks, so he can stay with his matchup. Cunningham shot the three-ball at 40 percent in college, and the Rockets need shooting desperately. He would easily improve the Rockets' shooing in the backcourt.
40 percent at shooting the three-ball ✍🏾 #Rockets My film session. https://t.co/SnTiLa3U3n— Zach Allen (@Zach Allen)1618459484.0
A quick reminder, Cunningham is 6'7 with a 7'0 ft wingspan as a guard. Having a tall athletic point guard that can see the floor well with good ball handling could pay huge dividends. He averaged 20 points per game with Oklahoma State. His best skill set is elevating the players around him.
IMAGINE KPJ X CADE 👀 https://t.co/jtLBRxJoAi— Zach Allen (@Zach Allen)1618459751.0
If the Rockets selected Cunningham, what do they do with Wall? The Rockets owe him $91 million, so trade partners could be hard to find. Three-team trade perhaps? The teams that could afford to have Wall on their roster are the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder. The Knicks are more likely, but the Detroit Pistons would be a perfect situation. It's a hypothetical thought though because the Pistons' cap couldn't afford Wall, thanks to Jerami Grant's contract.
Stone will likely have to swallow the financial bullet and keep Wall until the next All-Star break. He still provides a veteran presence for Porter and possibly Cunningham.
Olynyk and Wood average 23 minutes, 54 points, 21.9 rebounds, shooting 35.4% at the three-point-line, and making 45.6% from the field. These two guys can fill up a rebound chart and have been efficient on the court together.
The biggest clue of the offseason is the asking price of Olynyk. The 30-year-old Olynyk has played well for the Rockets this season. He was traded from the Miami Heat in the blockbuster trade that involved Victor Oladipo. His numbers have shown reasons for a higher tax bracket. Olynyk is averaging 16.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assist per game, while his shooting splits are 58.5% from the field, 83.9% at the free throw line, and 37.3% behind the three-point line. He has averaged this in 10 games with the Rockets.
Olynyk has proven his value to the Rockets after serious doubt from spectators. Many fans were scratching their heads when the Rockets acquired Olynyk. So the question becomes: are the Rockets willing to let Olynyk walk if they have the 2nd pick in the draft? Olynyk has shown his great passing skills, IQ inside the paint, and his ability to run the floor. Mobley is more athletic and younger and should be better support defensively.
Mobley's defensive rating is 90.9 and he averages five blocks a game per 100 possessions. His 7'0 ft frame could play the center position, while Wood plays the power forward spot. This allows Wood to keep his game by spacing the floor. Mobley plays better drop coverage on the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop than Wood. Mobley has a knack for being a wall inside the paint defensively. His IQ, agility, and versatility allow him to guard wherever and on whomever when it comes to defense.
Mobley can guard all angles of a court for a 7’0 ft big man. RENZO’s film room tomorrow inside my next article.… https://t.co/xDfz6YqcEE— Zach Allen (@Zach Allen)1618459361.0
Mobley averages 16.4 points per game and shoots 57% from the field. Like Olynyk, he plays the high-screen-and-roll and passes the ball exceptionally well. He is impressive in the open court because of his speed, decision-making with the ball, and ball handling. Mobley looks like a gazelle in transition with a wide-open court. Wood wouldn't be the only big man for the Rockets to push the ball in transition. The Rockets could consistently run a three-man game in fast break situations.
EVAN MOBLEY RUNS LIKE A GAZELL. WOOD-KPJ/WALL-MOBLEY three-man game on fast break.. Article dropping tomorrow.… https://t.co/GH8KGFIIJG— Zach Allen (@Zach Allen)1618459199.0
This year's draft could have a huge impact on the decisions the Rockets have to make. Letting Olynyk walk could be wise if they get Mobley. Signing Mobley to a rookie deal is cheaper than paying Olynyk $12 million a year. Plus, Mobley has more upside because of his youth and rebounding.
This summer will be real interesting to see which way the Rockets go.
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