The NBA offseason is here for the majority of teams and FortyEightMinutes is examining the key questions for each franchise as they look to improve their standing.
Today, we’ll take a look at the Houston Rockets.
1 – Which pending free agents will the Rockets bring back?
The Rockets’ biggest free agent this summer is Kelly Olynyk, who played well during his stint in Houston. Yet, most of his success was done with Christian Wood injured.
If the Rockets select Evan Mobley, there would be no little reason to re-sign Olynyk to a major deal. However, if they draft Jalen Green or another guard, a reunion is more likely.
Some other notable free agents for the Rockets include Armoni Brooks, Avery Bradley, David Nwaba, and Sterling Brown. Brooks, Nwaba, and Brown all saw an increase in playing time this past year due. Although, Don’t expect the Rockets to move swiftly on any of their free agents and lose out on potential flexibility.
2 – Who can the Rockets add this offseason to improve the future of the team?
Rockets will not be in a position to land any of the superstar free agents this summer but some potential candidates could be considered to still drastically improve this roster.
- The first name is John Collins. Collins and the Hawks ‘historic run just came to an end and he still could be in line to a return to Atlanta this summer. Yet if Houston can put some serious money on the table they could sway his decision. Collins is young but still producing at a high level. His inconsistency is one of the only things you can knock in his overall game, but that can still be fixed. Collins alongside Wood and whoever they select with that No.2 overall pick could make this team very interesting to watch next season.
- Secondly is Will Barton. Barton battled injuries this season in Denver, but if Barton wants a decent payday, you could question if Denver can and would pay him what he’s looking for. Barton would add a spark of scoring for the Rockets and fit nicely into the middle of that lineup or come off the bench where he has rejuvenated his career and implemented himself as one of the better sixth men in the league in the past.
- Lastly, Kelly Oubre Jr could be a possible option. The word from Oubre’s camp is that they believe he can make over 20 million yearly, over a long-term deal this summer. Warriors do not seem like they are in a position to bring him back. The Rockets, however, are in a position where they could overspend to attract a free agent. Now is that the right option for the Rockets? Perhaps, but the fact of the matter is that it is very possible either way.
3 – Will Kevin Porter Jr be a centerpiece for the Rockets?
Kevin Porter Jr. has had quite the journey so far in his early NBA career. When Porter was drafted there was no question the talent was there. Porter never got a real opportunity in Cleveland to truly develop but since he became a Rocket, he has shown his promise. Porter averaged 16.6 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game.
Teammate John Wall had extremely high praise for Porter saying, “People enjoy playing with him. I think he looks up to me a lot. I tell him all the time, you’re just as talented as me, you got so much potential in this league.” Considering Wall has set his mark in this league as one of the best point guards of the last decade, his opinion goes a long way. Porter only being 21 years old will definitely make him a piece Houston continues to build around.
4 – Jalen Green or Evan Mobley?
This will be a question that is asked until the day of the draft. Both players are incredible talents and will both have long and great careers in the NBA. Yet, when you look at the bright spots of this Houston roster, One of the players is Christian Wood who is a center. So when you break it all down and Houston already has a young promising big man they would have to be in love with Evan Mobley to take him over Jalen Green who makes a lot more sense in the team they are building.
Green and Porter Jr could pair very well for the future of the backcourt, both learning from John Wall. While still having Jae’Sean Tate and Wood at the power forward and center spots. Green playing in the G-League last year managed to average 17.9 points and 4.1 rebounds while shooting 46.1% from the field. At USC Evan Mobley added 16.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and shot 57.8% from the field. in our NBA Mock Draft 4.0, we have the Rockets selecting Jalen Green at No.2.
5 – Where the Rockets should look with their three other selections?
No.18: Josh Christopher would be a great addition at No.18 due to his upside and athletic ability. If the Rockets select Jalen Green this may be more of a longshot but the Rockets really are building this team from the ground up. So best player available feels like it will be their strategy throughout most of this draft. The other prospect who has growing interest is Usman Garuba the 6-foot-8 230 pound power forward/center from Spain. Garuba is a product in the making but has a lot of natural ability and uses his strength and size to benefit him in his game.
No.23, No.24: With these two selections being back-to-back the Rockets are going to consider many options. Dont rule out the chance of Houston possibly trading one of these picks. But some prospects to consider here start with Johnny Juzang from UCLA. Juzang is one of the best pure scorers in the draft and he should be able to translate that part of his game quickly to the NBA which could benefit the Rockets right away. Tre Mann the point guard from Florida is a guy who Houston could look to add here. Mann would be a player that grows behind John Wall until his time in Houston is up but Mann is the perfect image of the modern day guard. He can score and has a lot of range along with being able to pass the ball at a high level too.