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2022 Houston Rockets Offseason Thread - Lottery, Lottery, Lottery


BigOrange1
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With the Nets' season officially ending tonight and the Rockets' future being so heavily tied to them, tonight feels like the right time to start this thread.

Far and away, the most important day of the offseason is lottery day - May 17th.  Best case scenario IMO is a top 2 pick so they assure themselves of being able to take one of Chet Holmgren or Jabari Smith (I slightly prefer Smith), but a top 3 pick may yield the same result if a team that loves Paolo Banchero wins a top 2 pick.  Both Holmgren and Smith just fit in so well with what the Rockets already have, it's gonna be a damn shame if they are not able to walk away from the draft with one of them.  It's too early to really know what will be available with Brooklyn's pick, but a solid wing prospect would be nice there assuming they land one of the bigs with their own pick.

Beyond the draft, the biggest decision they have this summer is what to do with KPJ.  I know he is a polarizing figure, but please consider the following (from Bobby Marks):

Spoiler

When the Rockets acquired Porter from the Cleveland Cavaliers in January 2021, it was a low-risk move. At the time of the trade, the Rockets were investing $1.8 million -- the amount of the third year of his rookie-scale contract -- to continue Porter's development both on and away from the basketball court.

Although Porter was coming off a rookie season in Cleveland in which he averaged close to 10 points, there were numerous transgressions, including a screaming match with team officials before a game. If the relationship between both sides soured, the Rockets could cut bait at any time and incur a small financial burden. The only asset they would lose was a future top-55 protected second-round pick. However, if a relationship grew out of trust, the Rockets could potentially have their point guard of the future.

After a 15-game stint in the G League after he was acquired, Porter has started every game but three in his two seasons with the Rockets, but his play on the court has been all over the place. After a 10-turnover game to start the season, Porter followed up with 18 points, 10 assists and only two turnovers in the next game. Per Second Spectrum data, Porter has shot 46.7% of catch-and-shoot jumpers on 107 attempts. That ranks fifth best among players with 100 attempts.

One part of his game that has gone under the radar is his defense. Per ESPN Stats & Information research, the Rockets have a 105.4 defensive efficiency when Porter plays without Green, better than the overall number for the league-leading Boston Celtics.

Off the court, Porter realizes that the trade to the Rockets saved his basketball career.

"They gave me love and confidence in myself, and motivation to become a better player and person," he said at media day. "They've invested a lot in me, and I try to give them my all to repay them in some way."

Porter is far from a finished product. He was suspended in January for a tirade at halftime that eventually saw him leave the Toyota Center before the game was finished. He would tell the Houston Chronicle that he eventually apologized to his teammates and the Rockets organization.

"I think just as a man and as a human, that's the right thing to do," he said. "Even if you feel like you're in the right, there's ways to approach things in situations, and I felt, as a man, I didn't approach it the right way. So I apologize. I feel like that's just something you need to do as a principled thing."

Now entering the offseason, the front office is faced with an important decision: Have they seen enough from Porter on the basketball court and from a maturity level to reward him with a new contract?

Because Porter was the last pick in the first round in 2019, he has a modest $11.5 million free-agent hold in 2023.

If the Rockets are willing to offer an extension this summer and not wait until he is a restricted free agent in 2023, that number is the starting point of a new contract. A four-year, $51.5 million extension with a team option in the last season benefits both sides. At a minimum, Porter is guaranteed $37 million and the Rockets have the guard on a salary comparable to the midlevel exception and also have an out after the third season.

I think I'm in favor of offering an extension in that neighborhood rather than just punting on it and waiting until next offseason and being forced to make a decision on matching a (likely) bigger UFA offer sheet.  

Beyond that, getting rid of Christian Wood should be a priority.  Jalen Green started coming into his own after Wood was shut down and developing Sengun and the top pick should be a priority next year.  Get whatever you can for Wood and get him TFO.  Eric Gordon should be traded too (it remains ridiculous that they did not deal him at the trade deadline), but getting rid of Wood is much more important.  He simply cannot start next season on the roster.

The team has no reason to try and win next year, development of the young core should be the priority.  If it was up to me, only KPJ, this year's rookies, KJ Martin, Garrison Matthews, and maybe Jae'Sean Tate (though I'd look to move him too) would remain on the roster heading into next season.  (I'm ambivalent about the solution to the John Wall situation so long as whatever they do doesn't impact their cap beyond next season).  

Who knows what the fuck Brooklyn is going to look like in 2-3 years?  The Rockets control their draft through 2027.  

Anyway, for the team that has finished with the worst record in the NBA for the past two seasons, there are some signs of a bright future ahead and there some important decisions to make this summer to help accelerate that process.

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I think Porter would be better off the ball, he would be an ideal wing with his catch and shoot metrics, defense, and he could be a secondary playmaker. If he would agree to trying it, I would give him the extension. If he balks at having the ball taken out of his hands, I would hold off on the extension. 

I agree you have to try to rid the team of Wood, Gordon, buyout Wall. I would also trade Tate and Matthews. Neither guy does anything worth a shit consistently offensively, and both are abysmal defensive players. I guess Matthews is more keepable than Tate, but a 3 and D guy shooting 36% is nothing special, but I guess you have to pay someone. I just wouldn't play him over Christopher and Martin.

Ideally you have so far

PG - ???, Porter

SG - Green, Christopher. Matthews

SF - Porter, Martin, Matthews

PF - Holmgren/Smith, Garuba

C - Sengun, Fernando

Going to need a vet PG and whoever you get at #17. That's 9 rotational guys with a starting PG left.

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I was all about trading Wood and Gordon (still am about Wood), but I see what some mean about trying to instill work ethic and winning traits in the youngins which is something Gordon can do. Some fans (on this thread) have advocated tanking next year as well, but I don’t know if it’s great for the Rockets or Green/Sengun/Christopher/top5 2022 pick long term to be losing 5 games a week and never learning things like getting a lead, sitting on a lead, grinding people down, finishing out games. If you expect them to suck for half their rookie contract and then just flip a switch and win playoff series(es), that’s a tall order. My vote would be to get a new coach and start trying to win now, hoping to catch some luck with future Brooklyn picks and one Milwaukee pick down the road, and having the cap room after Wall/Wood/Gordon are gone to sign an all star level FA. 

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11 minutes ago, HtownHorn said:

I think Porter would be better off the ball, he would be an ideal wing with his catch and shoot metrics, defense, and he could be a secondary playmaker. If he would agree to trying it, I would give him the extension. If he balks at having the ball taken out of his hands, I would hold off on the extension. 

I agree you have to try to rid the team of Wood, Gordon, buyout Wall. I would also trade Tate and Matthews. Neither guy does anything worth a shit consistently offensively, and both are abysmal defensive players. I guess Matthews is more keepable than Tate, but a 3 and D guy shooting 36% is nothing special, but I guess you have to pay someone. I just wouldn't play him over Christopher and Martin.

Ideally you have so far

PG - ???, Porter

SG - Green, Christopher. Matthews

SF - Porter, Martin, Matthews

PF - Holmgren/Smith, Garuba

C - Sengun, Fernando

Going to need a vet PG and whoever you get at #17. That's 9 rotational guys with a starting PG left.

Would you keep Schroder? 
 

I’d take a point guard with the Nets pick. 
 

I hope the lottery pick is Jabari Smith. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, billfromlaketravis said:

Would you keep Schroder? 
 

I’d take a point guard with the Nets pick. 
 

I hope the lottery pick is Jabari Smith. 

I had the same thought about the Nets pick. I was hoping TyTy Washington would be on the board.

Edited by UDontKnow
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Give me a 3&D wing with the Nets pick. After your 2-3 core players, your collection of defensive wings who can hit open threes is the most important part of your roster nowadays

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17 hours ago, Murfdogg21 said:

I was all about trading Wood and Gordon (still am about Wood), but I see what some mean about trying to instill work ethic and winning traits in the youngins which is something Gordon can do. Some fans (on this thread) have advocated tanking next year as well, but I don’t know if it’s great for the Rockets or Green/Sengun/Christopher/top5 2022 pick long term to be losing 5 games a week and never learning things like getting a lead, sitting on a lead, grinding people down, finishing out games. If you expect them to suck for half their rookie contract and then just flip a switch and win playoff series(es), that’s a tall order. My vote would be to get a new coach and start trying to win now, hoping to catch some luck with future Brooklyn picks and one Milwaukee pick down the road, and having the cap room after Wall/Wood/Gordon are gone to sign an all star level FA. 

the thing is that they can tank next year just by committing to only playing the young nucleus.  a bunch of rookies and second year guys aren't going to win much but can get minutes and develop.  the prudent play is to commit to the young guys next season in preparation for next offseason when there will be cap room available.

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36 minutes ago, BigOrange1 said:

the thing is that they can tank next year just by committing to only playing the young nucleus.  a bunch of rookies and second year guys aren't going to win much but can get minutes and develop.  the prudent play is to commit to the young guys next season in preparation for next offseason when there will be cap room available.

And what player (that you actually want to sign to a large contract) is going to come play for a 25 win team that only consists on 1st and 2nd year players?

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What game changing franchise corner stone are you going to draft in 2023 somewhere between #5-15 after you want the first and second year players to fake tank and learn nothing about winning habits and culture? Green, Sengun, and Christopher will be halfway through their rookie contract and never get a whiff of 0.500 ball. 

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Or posed differently, you expect this nucleus of Green/Sengun/Christopher/KPJ plus either Chet or Jabari (hopefully) to suck shit next year even when they are trying, but magically become a contender the next season or before their rookie contracts are up?

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1 hour ago, Murfdogg21 said:

Or posed differently, you expect this nucleus of Green/Sengun/Christopher/KPJ plus either Chet or Jabari (hopefully) to suck shit next year even when they are trying, but magically become a contender the next season or before their rookie contracts are up?

It’s not magically become a contender with those guys, it’s add two max contract guys, or one max contract guy and 2 more above average rotation players to those guys and you have a contender. 

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1 hour ago, Murfdogg21 said:

Or posed differently, you expect this nucleus of Green/Sengun/Christopher/KPJ plus either Chet or Jabari (hopefully) to suck shit next year even when they are trying, but magically become a contender the next season or before their rookie contracts are up?

They’d ideally get better over time, like Memphis or Minnesota. Truly contending takes some luck 

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6 hours ago, BigOrange1 said:

the thing is that they can tank next year just by committing to only playing the young nucleus.  a bunch of rookies and second year guys aren't going to win much but can get minutes and develop.  the prudent play is to commit to the young guys next season in preparation for next offseason when there will be cap room available.

I agree Silas should go, but they should commit to the tank again in 2022-2023. Play the young guys a ton with a real coach and see what shakes out. They’ll be in the lottery, but so will the Nets. The Rockets should have enough trade capital to move up for a player they want. 
 

Wood and Gordon should theoretically be worth late first round picks. Theoretically. 

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2 hours ago, Fud said:

They’d ideally get better over time, like Memphis or Minnesota. Truly contending takes some luck 

yeah, it's a process.  this team won't be contending in 2023 no matter which path they take.

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9 hours ago, billfromlaketravis said:

They’ll be in the lottery, but so will the Nets. The Rockets should have enough trade capital to move up for a player they want. 

Keep in mind for next year (2023), we don’t own Brooklyn’s pick. It is a pick swap if theirs is better, but if Kyrie plays all year and Simmons contributes at all (LOL) I doubt we will be swapping. The Rockets do own Milwaukee’s pick, but you’d expect that to be very late first round and probably not valuable enough to package and move into the top couple picks. 

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Vecenie's redraft of the 2021 draft. I think he's about as good as it gets for NBA stuff, and think his opinion is worth paying attention to 

Spoiler

4. Jalen Green | 6-5 guard | Houston Rockets | Original Selection: No. 2

I had Green No. 4 on my pre-draft board, and he stays there following a rookie season filled with some struggles early, then some spectacular play late as he adjusted to the speed of the game as a shot maker. Most shot creators and shot makers like Green tend to struggle early on. It’s exceptionally hard to be 20 years old and responsible for operating out of ball screens and out of isolation to get clean looks. Green always has had the athleticism to get loose from defenders in addition to terrific touch — his explosiveness in regard to his first step is real, and he has incredible body control — but he hasn’t really had that final level of polish and craft as a shooter or finisher. This season, Green shot just 51 percent at the rim in half-court settings. Per Synergy, among the 209 players leaguewide to take at least 100 attempts at the basket in those settings, Green finished 170th in terms of efficiency. On top of that, up until Jan. 31, Green was one of the more inefficient pull-up shooters in the league. Among the 122 players in the NBA to take at least 100 pull-up jumpers prior to Jan. 31, Green’s 36.4 effective field-goal percentage was 112th-best. Additionally, he was really rough defensively early on.

But in the back half of the season — you can pinpoint his final 32 games — Green was outstanding and showed exactly why the Rockets drafted him at No. 2. He averaged 20.7 points and 3.1 assists per game over that time while shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 39 percent from 3. He got more comfortable attacking and driving for fouls, and he played more at his own pace. He slowed down and, instead of recklessly attacking, developed a plan for how to get to his spots. These are the strides that all great scoring guards need to make early in their careers, and it’s a testament to Green that he was able to do it so quickly. I like the two-way prowess of the three players ahead of him a bit more in regard to being an impact playoff player, but Green is the fourth guy here I would expect to make an All-NBA team at some point.

 

14. Alperen Sengun | 6-9 big | Houston Rockets | Original Selection: No. 16

Sengun was incredibly productive this season, averaging roughly 10 points, six rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes per game. Realistically, he has upside offensively, simply because of his dexterity with the ball in his hands. He sees angles in a rare way that allows him to make plays both on the block and out on the perimeter out of dribble-handoffs. He can handle the ball for a big. He’s physical inside and holds his ground well despite being a bit undersized for the center position.

So why is he here? I have some significant concerns about how his defense is going to translate to playing high-leverage playoff minutes. While Jalen Green got better defensively throughout the year, I thought Sengun was a mess the whole season on that end. I think Stephen Silas probably should have just played him more and dealt with the growing pains, but I also understand to an extent why Silas felt like he couldn’t trust Sengun to execute. His lateral foot speed is bad, and his overall footwork needs improvement. He’s active with his hands, but I think his positioning is subpar. There is a long way to go for Sengun to reach any sort of reasonable level on the defensive end to where he wouldn’t be a liability in a playoff series. It’s a testament to how good I think his offense is that he still rates this highly on the board.

I maintain some real questions regarding how Sengun will translate in the moments that matter most, and when drafting, I tend to value guys whom I see as “16-game players” more than “82-game players.” Maybe Sengun can develop into the former — he’s extremely young and very skilled — but he’s much more on his way to the latter right now.

 

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13 hours ago, BigOrange1 said:

yeah, it's a process.  this team won't be contending in 2023 no matter which path they take.

If they get Chet or Smith this year and then tank again and pick high next year and nab a rotational piece then they should contend in 2024 if they can get 2 or 3 quality FA in here, which they will have the money to do.  Or, trade some of those assets for unhappy star du jour or guys looking to put together a super team. But yeah, that 2024 is the window where we will have a lot of money to add in FA and a lot of talent on rookie deals. Need to shove all that in to the middle by tanking in 2023.  

And I agree with you the tank should be- jettison all veterans or guys that help win for whatever asset you can get that isn't on the books in the summer of 2023 and commit to playing the kids non stop and giving them responsbilities and OTJT and the losing will take care of itself.  

This should be like the Astros 2014 season . They went 72-90, didn't sign anyone that was a vet, just promoted and got better than terrible but still toward the very bottom of the league. 

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5 hours ago, Murfdogg21 said:

Keep in mind for next year (2023), we don’t own Brooklyn’s pick. It is a pick swap if theirs is better, but if Kyrie plays all year and Simmons contributes at all (LOL) I doubt we will be swapping. The Rockets do own Milwaukee’s pick, but you’d expect that to be very late first round and probably not valuable enough to package and move into the top couple picks. 

If we land at 5 I'd like to see us try to bundle the 16, and Milwaukee's pick and Brooklyn's swap to move up to 4 if we can to get Ivey.  

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On 4/30/2022 at 10:14 PM, HtownHorn said:

I wonder if he can move into the top group of forwards already in there. Could be another option, should the lottery not go our way.

In the top five? I’m thinking he’d a potential option at #17, or he pushes someone down one more spot to there 

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2 hours ago, Fud said:

In the top five? I’m thinking he’d a potential option at #17, or he pushes someone down one more spot to there 

My thought was Russillo's tweet means Dieng moving into the top 10. If he's seen as a top 10 pick, taking him at 5 isn't a big leap. But I am guessing that one of the bigs will drop to 5, just hope it isn't Banchero. Of course, none of this matters if we stay in the Top 2.

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14 hours ago, BigOrange1 said:

yeah if it's not a top 2 pick it's gonna feel like a loss.

And yet half this board wants to intentionally tank next year and not maximize the development of the 2021 and 2022 guys all for a lottery ticket. 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Murfdogg21 said:

And yet half this board wants to intentionally tank next year and not maximize the development of the 2021 and 2022 guys all for a lottery ticket. 

You are misinterpreting what people who are advocating another year of tanking want. They want to give the youngsters all-they-can-eat minutes to maximize their development. If that leads to a lottery pick, fine. If it means a playoff spot, even better. 

Edited by TonyTexas
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1 minute ago, ChickenSandwich said:

Big night. What’s the worst we can get?

Oh come on it's been posted like 3 or 4 times. Hell Wulaw himself has probably mentioned it every time he steps out of the sex tent. It's a well known fact at this point. It's... something like 3 I think? Maybe 4? Definitely better than 6.

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