What to watch for in the offseason for the Houston Rockets
It’s time to shake off the disappointment and get ready for an active offseason for the Houston Rockets. What should we expect to see throughout the long summer?
The offseason is here sooner than the Houston Rockets wanted it to be. Like it or not, though, it’s time to start looking ahead to what the long summer holds for the Rockets and what changes we might expect to see.
It’s obvious that some changes must happen before Houston can make the next step and win a championship. Those include possibly looking to acquire another star, as the Rockets look to do every year, and upgrading the depth, especially on the rebounding side of things.
Thankfully, it’s not just the fans that are adamant that change must happen. Both James Harden and owner Tilman Fertitta have publicly said that the Rockets will be looking to improve. The Beard even said he knows exactly what to do:
Asked how the Rockets need to do to get over the Warriors hump, James Harden said, "I know what we need to do. I know exactly what we need to do. We’ll figure it out this summer." Did not elaborate. Asked again, said he did not "want to tale about it."
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 11, 2019
We’ll hopefully get to see what he was talking about as we enter the summer. For now, though, let’s take a look at what all will be happening this offseason for your Houston Rockets.
Next: The Draft
The NBA Draft
This is an odd year for the Houston Rockets, as they don’t even have a second-round pick in the upcoming draft. We are accustomed to seeing them trade away their first rounders (as they did this year for Iman Shumpert), but they normally at least have their pick in the second round.
The Rockets can look to be aggressive and trade into the draft, or they can hold back and look for guys that go undrafted. They have had success as recent as last year in the undrafted market, as they picked up and later signed Gary Clark who has promise to be a rotational player for the future.
Last year, the Rockets had two second round picks in the draft. They selected De’Anthony Melton and Vincent Edwards. Melton would go on to have a great Summer League and eventually was included in the trade that got rid of the big Ryan Anderson contract. Edwards was a two-way player for Houston last year and will likely need another year in the G League to keep improving before he can contribute.
We’ll be putting out a list of players that the Rockets should potentially trade into the draft to get. This year isn’t a particularly deep draft, but it’s always nice to have young talent on the team. The draft this year is on Thursday, June 20.
Next: Awards and Free Agency
NBA Awards Show on TNT
A few days later on June 20, the NBA will have their annual awards show on TNT. There we will finally get to see the conclusion to the season-long argument of James Harden vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo for the Most Valuable Player award.
Early results and predictions have the Beard once again falling just short of the MVP. He was able to get one last season, but it’s looking like he’ll have the third second-place finish of his career. Whatever.
The fun really begins on July 1 (and a little before that). That’s when free agents can officially start signing their contracts to join teams. The Rockets have a lot of work to do this summer through free agency and trades to make sure they are ready to compete again next season.
This will be my third season of covering the offseason for the Rockets at Space City Scoop. They’ve all been exciting, despite last year being a bit of a dud. Let’s hope that this summer is more like 2017. Houston is always active in talks with stars and are masters at figuring out how to make cap space happen.
Next: Summer League
Honestly, I think the NBA Summer League is vastly underrated. It’s a fun time to see how the young guys are progressing in the system, and this year should be no different.
The Rockets should have a solid Summer League squad this year as they look to prove themselves against all 30 teams in Las Vegas. Isaiah Hartenstein will lead the squad after a fantastic year in the G League for the Vipers in which he averaged 19.4 points and 14.9 rebounds a night on 62.2% shooting.
Will Harty show even more improvements? It’s looking like he could be the backup center next year for the Rockets, and a solid showing in the Summer League could start the path to him solidifying that role.
It will also be interesting to watch Gary Clark, who didn’t play in the Summer League last year but impressed in the early part of the season. He can be a great 3-and-D player for the Rockets, a type of guy they need desperately. He showed flashes of being a fantastic role player last year, but eventually lost minutes to Danuel House Jr.
We’ll continue to bring the optimism after a rough end to the season once again against the Warriors. Be sure to stay tuned for a very active offseason!