A classic among classics, the Global Franchise Preview is ready for the customer du jour. On the menu ? The Houston Rockets, who have laid the first foundations for a hyper-promising reconstruction given the nuggets already there and the nice draft capital that the franchise has after the XXL transfer of James Harden in January 2021. Come on, let’s see what we can propose the Rockets this year.
What happened last season
20 wins for 62 losses, last place in the Western Conference, last place in the NBA period. On a purely accounting level, the Rockets’ 2021-22 season was a disaster. In terms of content, as you can imagine it wasn’t very pretty either, especially at the start of the season when the Fusées lost… 15 games out of 16. An absolutely cataclysmic start when we expected at least from this young team, with the number 2 draft pick Jalen Green in mind, that it makes us vibrate a minimum. Not the slightest semblance of consistency, youngsters who brutally learn the requirements of the NBA level, Stephen Silas who sees his seat heating up after having had the incredible idea of associating Daniel Theis – Christian Wood – Jae’Sean Tate on the frontcourt… in short it was a complete mess in the Texas summer camp. Then there was sometimes better (at the same time it couldn’t be worse), like when the Rockets managed to win seven games (!) in a row – including one against James Harden (youhou) – under the impetus of the best player in franchise history Garrison Mathews. And sometimes Houston pushed the boundaries of mediocrity a little further, like when the Rockets went 0-12 in a month and Kevin Porter Jr. and Christian Wood tangled with the coaching staff.
Luckily for Rocket fans, the season still ended on a high note with the XXL performances of Jalen Green, who after a nice flop at the Slam Dunk Contest in February showed his full potential in the last weeks of his rookie campaign. All this without winning too many games, don’t mess around, there’s still a big draft pick to go get…
The summer market
- They leave : John Wall, Christian Wood, Dennis Schroder
- They extend: Jae’Sean Tate
- They arrive : Jabari Smith Jr., Tari Eason, Boban Marjanovic, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss, TyTy Washington
A few “big names” left the scene this summer. John Wall first, via a buyout and after a season in which he pocketed almost $45 million without playing a single minute. Christian Wood then transferred to the Mavericks from Luka Doncic and which finally allowed Houston to recover rookie TyTy Washington and two second-round picks. Full reconstruction mode activated.
In the radius of arrivals, it is obviously necessary to turn to the Draft. For many, the Rockets are among the big winners of the June ceremony with the selection of the nugget Jabari Smith Jr. with the third choice, but also that of Tari Eason – whose blaze is already much associated with the term “ steal” – through the 17th pick. Well done Rockets! Also note the contract extension of Jae’Sean Tate, who will pocket 22 million over three years after being abandoned in the 2018 Draft. A nice revenge for him, and a well-deserved increase.
The Rockets 2022-23 roster
- Leaders : Kevin Porter Jr.Daishen Nix, TyTy Washington, Trey Burke, Trevor Hudgins (two-way)
- Rears : Jalen GreenGarrison Mathews, Josh Christopher, Sterling Brown
- Wingers : Eric GordonJae’Sean Tate, Tari Eason, David Nwaba
- Power forwards : Jabari Smith Jr.., Kenyon Martin Jr., Usman Garuba
- Pivots : Alperen SengunMarquese Chriss, Boban Marjanovic
In orange the expected starters, according to the famous sources close to the file
At the level of the starting five, we will logically start with a Kevin Porter Jr. – Jalen Green duo on the backcourt, with KPJ in the leading role on paper. The third pick of the Draft Jabari Smith Jr. should quietly settle on the position of strong winger, while Alperen Sengun will take advantage of the departure of Christian Wood to become the Rockets’ full-time starting pivot. The real question about these Rockets version 2022-23 is post 3. Rather Eric Gordon with his experience and his ability to shoot from afar? Rather Jae’Sean Tate with his rebounding qualities? What about Garrison Mathews, holder 33 times last year? And why not the Tari Eason option? According to indications coming straight from Houston during the offseason, Gordon would take the helm but nothing is set in stone. Just recently, coach Stephen Silas has been discussing a Tate-Smith Jr.-Sengun pairing on the frontcourt quite a bit, perhaps a sign of things to come.
A little video by the way?
Houston Rockets 2022-23 salaries
TTFL: Rockets players to watch
Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Jabari Smith Jr. and Alperen Sengun.
The Rockets aren’t expected to win many games this season, but some might wake you up happy. We can’t wait to see the sophomore version of Jalen Green, especially after the boxes made at the end of his rookie campaign. We also know Kevin Porter Jr.’s ability to blacken the stats sheet (29 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists average over the last seven games of last season) when he’s on a good night, and we’re very curious. to see what Jabari Smith Jr. will offer us for his rookie year, as well as Alperen Sengun now that he no longer has Christian Wood in his paws.
When we look at the Houston infirmary, five names stand out. We can start with Eric Gordon, another player with an already full loyalty card. 25 games missed last season for various small alerts, ankle, hamstrings, heel, knee, and above all, recurring tension in the right groin, which had already deprived him of many games the previous season. We can also quickly mention Jalen Green, who missed fourteen games last season for a hamstring strain in his left leg at the end of November. Josh Christopher, meanwhile, left the Summer League prematurely for right hip pain. Usman Garuba, even if he played little, spent time in the infirmary, for a wrist fracture but especially for two sprains in the left ankle. We end with Kevin Porter Jr, who missed fifteen games at the start of the season for a thigh contusion that got worse when he came back too quickly. To conclude, a few alerts last season but little concern about the state of health of the young Rockets, who should start the year at 100%.
What goals this season?
Take a step forward in the franchise reconstruction project. That’s the main goal for the Rockets 2022-23.
The parts are there, there’s a lot of talent, now it’s time to become a little more serious team than the one we saw last season. And when we say « more serious », it does not mean winning 15 more games from one year to the next. Above all, it means more coherence on a collective level, a well-established hierarchy between the many youngsters who make up the workforce today, and putting in place more solid foundations to be able to gradually ramp up.
From a more individual point of view, Jalen Green will have to show that he is the boss of this reconstruction project in confirmation of his very big end to the rookie season. Kevin Porter Jr. will have the mission to prove that he is the leader of the present and the future in Houston, and that requires more regularity in order to obtain the contract extension he is looking for. Alperen Sengun is also expected to take advantage of the opportunity associated with Wood’s departure to impose himself inside, while rookies Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason will be keen to show that they can already contribute strongly. to the Texas team. If all these boxes are checked, the Rockets will be a fun team to follow and above all a team that will have a much clearer vision for its future.
The Editor’s Prognosis
26 wins – 56 losses: 13th place in the West
We are banking on a small progression in Houston. Nothing crazy eh, be careful, but we can see six additional victories to climb two places in the hierarchy of the Western Conference. There is obviously talent in this group and we expect some of them to reach a milestone on an individual level this season. Add to that the expected contribution of Jabari Smith Jr. and there’s a good chance that the Rockets take off more often than last season. Coach Stephen Silas will obviously have a major role to play in all this, he who will have to show that he is the man for the job to guide all these youngsters in the right direction.
Some useful links
So much for the Rockets preview for this NBA 2022-23 season. The group is promising but it is obviously still a little early to have real ambitions within the Western Conference. However, that’s not why we don’t expect anything from Les Fusées this season. Houston must take a real step forward in its reconstruction project after the somewhat chaotic campaign of the past year. Get to work young people!