3 jump-out-the-gym reasons you should be watching the young gun Rockets
"Light the fuse" is the Rockets' marketing slogan for this season. Teams come up with one of these slogans every year in order to build a campaign around said slogan in order to sell tickets and merch. Realistically speaking, this fuse may take a while to burn and pay off. However, the future is bright enough to have positive hope. There are a few things to look at and look forward to right now. Let's take a look and a few things to key in on this preseason that may lead to some things to look forward to in the upcoming season:
The new backcourt: Kevin Porter Jr and Jalen Green are the future in the backcourt for this team. KPJ was a steal in a trade last season from the Cavs. He had several moments last season, including a 50 point game, that warranted him getting a second chance in Houston despite the rocky start to his career in Cleveland. Green is the hot shot number two overall pick with unlimited potential. He's a scorer who needs to develop and unlock parts of his game that haven't been developed yet. These two guys are the Batman and Robin of the Rockets' future. Watching how they play together and how their chemistry is building will give a glimpse into the future of what this team can possibly do.
Supporting cast: Christian Wood is seen as one of the building blocks for this young team, but rumors of his poor attitude coupled with the known fact that he wants a max extension make him a candidate to either be traded, or not re-signed. Alperen Sengun (the second of the four first round picks taken in this past draft) makes Wood somewhat expendable if he can develop his game and adjust to the NBA. The Turkish rookie has the skill set most teams are looking for from their bigs nowadays (shooting, passing, rebounding). Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba were the other two first rounders. Christopher has a chance to be a scoring spark off the bench, while Garuba can be a defensive presence. Jae'Sean Tate and Kenyon Martin Jr are two holdovers from last year that look to figure prominently in the future of this team.
The rotation: An underestimated part of watching preseason basketball is seeing what guys will be in the regular season rotation. Most teams will use 8-10 guys every game. Preseason gives the coaches a chance to see who works well together and which guys deserve to start, come off the bench, the roles they'll play, and who gets more minutes. Lineups and rotations of course can change. Minutes will be dictated by who has the hot hand and matchups so they'll vary from night to night. One thing that stays consistent will be the group of guys getting the most playing time.
The Rockets have a very young team. They'll be fun to watch because of their overall athletic ability to produce highlights. Will they threaten for a playoff spot? Most likely they won't, unless it's one of the last play-in spots. This will prompt most casual fans to drop. I'd encourage them to stay. This young group seems to be having fun together. If they enjoy each other this much and can build & grow together, it'll make them the next up and coming, must-watch team in the league. I say watch and get to know these guys now, rather than looking to hop on the bandwagon after it gets rolling.