Why Drafting Jalen Green Makes Sense for the Rockets Young Core...

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We all know by now that this draft class of 2021 is something special. Players from all over whether from the G League, college, or overseas have shown that they can potentially be franchise players in the NBA right out the gate… And aside from the supposed number one overall pick Cade Cunningham going to the pistons, we really weren’t sure what the rest of the draft would look like because the rest of the guys are so good in their own ways. But, news just broke that the Houston Rockets with their 2nd overall pick might just have their mind made up about who they are drafting, and as you all know by the title and thumbnail it’s Jalen Green, and to say that this pick could make the Rockets one of the best teams in the NBA in the future is an understatement. Today we have to talk about the Houston Rockets and the NBA draft because things are getting very interesting, and the Rockets might just be one of the teams best set up for success after this summer.

The Houston Rockets have definitely been one of the most interesting teams to keep up with in the past year. I mean just think about it… this franchise went from being under the control of James Harden who proceeded to throw a fit and leave, to now being set up to have one of the best young cores in the league after the draft. Although I believe that the Rockets did in fact mess up the James Harden trade being that they didn’t get as much as they could have in return, what they did outside of this is why I believe they have a bright future… And it all starts with them acquiring Kevin Porter Jr from the Cavs. It’s no secret that Kevin Porter Jr is one of the youngest players in the league with superstar potential, but after ruining his relationship with the Cavs they wanted to get rid of him… And the Rockets, well they basically got him for nothing which was huge for them. I find it funny that this franchise was willing to take a chance on a player that caused their team a big headache being that James Harden just did the same thing for them… But hey, it definitely worked out for this team… So much so that they believe Kevin Porter Jr is their future and they plan to build around him. After playing in the G league for a while it was clear that Kevin Porter Jr just didn’t belong there and it was more of a punishment, so after dominating he was pulled up to the Rockets team where he had a huge impact from the start. With the Rockets Kevin Porter Jr put up amazing numbers averaging 17 points per game and over 6 assists well.

Now I know that this didn’t translate to wins for this team, but it showed that if they build around Kevin Porter Jr this team could very well have the potential to dominate in the future. Because of the fact that this franchise is invested in Kevin Porter Jr for the future, it was reported by the athletic that they are very much considering picking Jalen Green with their second overall pick in the draft this year. I’m not usually one to take these rumors too seriously, but when the athletic says something like this I believe there is a very good chance that it is in fact true. It’s been clear that KPJ has the star potential the Rockets were hoping for after having a legendary 50 point game this season… and according to reports, many believe that the pairing of Jalen Green would be the best for this team and eventually create one of the best backcourts in the league. Up until this point, many believed that the number two pick in the draft would be Evan Mobley. I mean he is one of the best prospects in this draft class being that he is a 7-foot versatile defender and rim protector that is what almost every modern NBA team could use. But, I guess the talent and potential of Green who spent last year with the G-league ignite might just be too good to pass up on for the Rockets, and rightly so. Jalen Green is one of those guards that just looks special when you watch him play… Elite athleticism, good shooting splits, solid defense, he really has everything that this team needs from him. With the G league Ignite Green averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds, and a couple of assists, which in my eyes shows that he will more than likely translate to the NBA very nicely, but what about the fit for this Rockets team?

It has been very clear that the Rockets are rebuilding and they will be taking their time with it. After trading Russell Westbrook for John Wall and getting guys like Christain Wood and Demarcus Cousins it was very clear that without Harden this team couldn’t win even against some of the middle of the pack teams. With that said, I wouldn’t be surprised if this team tries to ship off John Wall and his brutal contract because of the fact that he wasn’t a top guard in the league like he used to be. In my eyes though, there is a very good chance that this team keeps Christian Wood because he is still somewhat young and could be a solid piece for the future of this team. Being that Wood is 6 foot 10, at age 26 he could definitely be the Rockets Center for the foreseeable future which means that they don’t exactly need someone like Mobley even though it would be a good pick up for them. I don’t blame the rockets here, because all the success they have had has been fueled by guards. Even though it hasn’t led to chips this team has been able to take guys like Harden, Westbrook, Chris Paul, and more to deep playoff runs, and in my eyes, they just want to stick with what they know best. If Christian Wood can run the center for this team or they are able to get someone like Jarredd Allen in free agency the Jalen Green pick actually makes a lot of sense in my eyes. Because for the Rockets, that would leave them with a young starting lineup of Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr, Jae'sean Tate, Kenyon Martin Jr, and Christian Wood at the center or someone else if they make a free agency move. Now would this be the starting lineup for the Rockets next season? Not necessarily… But two of the guys I mentioned are 26 years old and the rest are 20 or under… so that means that this team would have one of the youngest and most promising starting lineups in the league if they added green. I think this is most definitely the right move for this team especially if they can get a young center in free agency as I mentioned… because we have seen time and time again that this is a guard and forwards league, so if the Rockets want to set themselves up for long term success this is the pick they should make in my eyes.

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It's no secret that the Rockets had a far from perfect season being that they lost their superstar James Harden. But, what they do this offseason has the potential to determine just how well the team is set up for the future. Aside from the Jalen Green news that many reporters have been discussing, we have to talk about the Rockets' other needs and musts this offseason, there is a lot more riding on this offseason than people think. Like I said in a previous article, it was clear that John Wall was a shell of what he used to be, and with the Rockets more than likely picking Jalen Green I think that this team should trade him… because not only is he an overpay, but also an injury liability at this point. In my eyes, Wall would be very hard to move because he is the most overpaid player in the league… But, I could see a world in which the Rockets make a trade with someone like the Pelicans for other overpaid players like Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe. At the surface of this deal it may not seem like a good one for the Rockets to make, but keep in mind that Steven Adams is on an expiring deal so this would free up cap space for the Rockets a lot quicker which in turn could help them out in an upcoming free agency. John Wall is a solid player despite his unbearable contract, but if this team picks green they will have their guards for the future which doesn’t give much incentive to hold onto Wall. Wall isn’t the only one that this team should get rid of though, because there are some players on expiring deals that the Rockets should not invest in for the long-term future. In my eyes, guys like Kelly Olynyk and Dante Exum should not be brought back because they just aren’t on the same timeline as this team. Although this team will have some cap space restrictions because of the fact that John Wall is on their roster, I think that they could have enough space to sign a young stud to a big deal if they do what I just mentioned… And there are a few guys who are available that would add to the potential for this team even more. It’s no secret that the free agency class this year is far from good star players-wise, but I think that a lot of people are sleeping on the young talent that will be available for teams like the Rockets that want to kick start their rebuild. I already mentioned the rim-protecting center Jared Allen, but there are a few more young players entering free agency I think the Rockets should target. This franchise definitely has a few routes they could go which is good, because they could either draft a guard like the rumors are saying and sign a young center, or draft the big man Mobley and get a guard in free agency.

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