Hunter Atkins Houston lists three potential off-season moves for the Rockets.
The Houston Rockets failed to launch in 2020 as the franchise struggled to a 17-55 record. Fortunately, a new season and the recent NBA Draft bring hope.
Hunter Atkins Houston has spent years covering the city’s teams through ups and downs. The experienced sports reporter examines three off-season moves that should get the Rockets trending back in the right direction.
Through trades, the Rockets have amassed a stockpile of draft capital over the next several seasons. Yet, these picks are meaningless without the ability to develop talent. The coaching staff must build its new core from within.
At No. 2 overall, the team landed Jalen Green. Choosing the G League over college, the shooting guard already displays explosive power and scoring instincts. If he can learn to play in fewer isolation sets and make his teammates better, Hunter Atkins Houston sees the 19-year-old as a legitimate star in the making.
The Rockets then traded up to nab Alperen Sengun. Despite limited production overseas, the Turkish center sits atop most statistical projects. The 6’10” big man gives the team two of the highest-rated prospects in the entire draft.
The youth movement has begun in Space City. The Rockets have to prioritize playing time for its recent draft picks, along with emerging stars Kevin Porter, Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate. The team can open up more minutes by not retaining its free agents.
After arriving via trade, Kelly Olynyk put up substantial numbers. The center averaged 19.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, along with 4.1 assists and 1.4 steals. However, these same stats are the exact reason the Rockets shouldn’t make an offer. He will demand big money that the Rockets could use elsewhere.
Hunter Atkins Houston knows Dante Exum is another cap causality. The Australian guard has never lived up to expectations since being taken with the No. 5 picks in 2014. His minutes (and salary) coming off the books will only help other players going forward.
The Rockets can ignite the rebuild by making some trades. Maximize value and assets by moving on from some established veterans now.
Eric Gordon is likely the first to go. He’s consistently produced as one of the best sixth men in the league and been a cornerstone for the Rockets during his tenure. But he also has the second-largest contract. With two guaranteed years left on his current deal, the shooting guard is much more valuable to a contending team.
Nearing the end of his career, John Wall joined the Rockets with title aspirations. When James Harden forced his way out, the point guard instead found himself sunk on an underwhelming roster. Injuries aside, the star is also much more useful to a playoff-caliber team, Hunter Atkins Houston says.