What if DeAndre Hopkins played for the Rockets instead of the Texans?

With DeAndre Hopkins being traded away from the city of Houston, how would he have fared if he originally went to the Houston Rockets instead of the Texans?

As we all know by now, the NBA has suspended play due to the growing coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19). There are a number of options the league could go moving forward, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that many of the league’s executives aren’t expecting the league to resume play until mid-June, which is painful to hear for Houston Rockets fans.

The Rockets haven’t played a game in a week, so there’s been very little Houston Rockets related news, depending on what you consider to be news. However, the city of Houston was dealt catastrophic news on the sports front on Monday, as former Houston Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a second-round draft pick, and a fourth-round draft pick.

Although the Texans ultimately decided they were no longer interested in Nuk’s services, what if he was a member of the Rockets and never played on the Texans? It’s not hard to envision, as Hopkins was a high school basketball star at D. W. Daniel High School. In fact, Hopkins led the Daniel Lions to the South Carolina state title, and was even named the Independent Mail’s basketball player of the year in the same season. All in all, Hopkins finished his high school career with 1453 points, 523 rebounds, 698 assists, and 301 steals.

Hopkins also made the cut on Clemson’s college basketball team, although he only played seven games during his freshman year before deciding to solely focus on football. Since there was a fairly small sample size of Nuk playing basketball in college, let’s focus on his time on the hardwood in high school.

Hopkins started on varsity for all four years of high school, which is certainly impressive considering the basketball reputation of Daniel High. To add color to that, Daniel previously won two state titles in South Carolina before Hopkins even arrived, so it’s not like we’re talking about a bottom dweller. In fact, Daniel is the same high school that produced NBA legend Pete Maravich.

During Hopkins’ sophomore season, Hopkins averaged 20.1 points, 8.4 assists, six rebounds, and four steals, which led Daniel High to 20-6 record, compared to 13-12 during Hopkins’ freshman year. As a junior, however, Hopkins was named a captain on the team, and led the Lions to a 24-3 record, as they went undefeated in league play.

Hopkins averaged 18.8 points, 6.8 assists, 4.7 rebounds, and 3.4 steals per game that season, as Daniel finished the season ranked as the 11th-best team in the state. During Hopkins’ senior season, he was named a captain yet again, and he averaged 11.2 points, 7.3 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.7 steals, and helped lead the Lions to their third state title in school history.

Hopkins is 6-foot-1, which is perfect size for the Houston Rockets, considering how they’ve zeroed in on the small ball scheme. Hopkins also provides versatility, as he played both guard positions in high school. Nuk was more of a facilitator, which would also help the Rockets, as he could kick it out to open 3-point shooters, especially P.J. Tucker, who is the best corner 3-point shooter in the league.

As we all know, Hopkins has elite leaping ability, which would make him a lob option, in spite of being only 6-foot-1. The one area of concern in Hopkins’ game was his lack of 3-point shooting, as he only made 21 percent of his triples, but Hopkins would benefit from having an open lane to the basket, much like Russell Westbrook. This would also give the Rockets a much needed equilibrium, as it’s been painfully obvious that they’ve become far too dependent on the 3-point shot.

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We’ll never know whether Hopkins would have thrived on the Houston Rockets, but his ability to score and create offense for others would have been great contributions. On top of that, many believe D. Hop was better on the hardwood than on the football field, which is saying alot considering how he’s arguably the best receiver in the NFL.

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