EVERY-THING SPORTS

Here's an important lesson in patience with Houston GMs

Good things come to those who wait. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

A few days ago I was having a discussion in a group chat with a few friends of mine. Mind you, this group is filled with people who have differing opinions, fandoms, and it's also pretty diverse. We will discuss anything and everything under the sun, but we mainly stick to sports. It's like listening to a show on ESPN Houston: you'll get your fair share of sports, but there's also some other stuff that'll get covered as well. One of my friends posed the question of why isn't Nick Caserio getting the same love Daryl Morey got as far as media coverage and on social media?

My immediate answer was short and simple: he hasn't made any splash moves and has only been on the job a few months. But it begs a different question to be answered: can Caserio reach Morey or even Jeff Luhnow status as a general manager? Both of those guys stepped into situations that weren't ideal and ended up turning them around. Morey never won a title in his run with the Rockets, but his teams made the playoffs in 10 of his 13 years and made two Western Conference Finals appearances. He succeeded in doing so while being told he couldn't tank and had to constantly find a way to build a winner. Luhnow was afforded the ability to tear it down and start from scratch. The Astros went on to lose 90 games or more in his first four seasons, but proceeded to make the playoffs in five of the next six, including two World Series appearances, with the roster Luhnow was able to rebuild. Although neither guy's era ended well (Morey stepped down when the team needed to rebuild and the Harden/Westbrook experiment failed; Luhnow was fired after the cheating scandal came down), they both brought their respective franchises to heights that neither had never been seen (Astros winning the 2017 World Series), or heights that haven't been seen in years (Rockets making the Western Conference Finals for the first time in almost 20 years) under these two guys.

But can Caserio replicate Morey and Luhnow's level of success? I believe he can. As with some of my other opinions, there's always a caveat: I believe he can, if given the free rein to make moves and decisions he feels are beneficial to the Texans' success moving forward. So far, he's been making good bargain signings and trades. Of the 20 plus signings/trades/acquisitions he's made, only a select few have contracts that last past this upcoming year. His biggest tradeable asset is currently embroiled in a massage/sex scandal that could hinder his ability to make a splash move to acquire more assets. However, I see what he's doing and think he's doing a good job so far reshaping this roster.

The rubber will really hit the road when the draft rolls around. If Caserio can turn the draft picks this offseason and next into quality players for this team, as well as continue to spend money in free agency wisely, he'll cut short the rebuild time for the Texans. Finding or keeping your franchise quarterback plays a HUGE part in all of this. I don't envy the position he's in right now at all, but I'd trade places with him in a heartbeat because he's in a much more enviable position than I'm in. I truly hope he's allowed to work his magic and change the culture of this franchise. This fanbase and city deserves a winner to root for in their NFL franchise because they've been extremely loyal throughout some very lean years. It'd be nice to see them rewarded with a product worthy of respect and their hard-earned money they choose to spend.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

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.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome