Houston Rockets: 3 Trade targets that would shine in small ball system

James Johnson (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
James Johnson (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Josh Hart (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Josh Hart: Guard → Wing → Forward

I’ll always have a soft spot for Josh Hart. Why? My brother went to high school with him. Isn’t that enough? Outside of the six-degrees of nepotism, Hart is a really solid player that would fit perfectly into Houston’s rotation.

Hart began his career as a shooting guard and has slowly seen more time at small forward and even power forward. In Houston, he’d provide cover across all three positions.

The biggest appeal of Hart in Houston is that he is an excellent rebounder. Hart’s defensive rebounding percentage of 22.1 percent was the exact same as that of Anthony Davis. Players that are 6-5 simply don’t rebound the ball any better, and Hart maintains the same mobility and switchability as you would expect from a wing.

His offensive game, while not fantastic, is perfectly adequate, especially if he were to move up the defensive spectrum. For his career, Hart has shot 35.3 percent from 3-point range. While that is a shade below the league average of 35.8 percent over that time frame, the overall league average is distorted by who takes the most threes.

Power forwards are not usually average 3-point shooters, which is why stretch fours have become so valuable. Hart’s 3-point shooting from the four spot would be a plus compared to his peers.

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Hart is also deadly as a transition scorer and would feast in the fast break next to Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Under contract for one more year at $3.49 million, he’d be able to fit into Houston’s budget, but what exactly would he cost? The Pelicans have plenty of cap space, even after a Brandon Ingram extension, and could likely take on some salary from Houston if the right player was offered.

Would they be open to an Eric Gordon reunion? What about a blockbuster where New Orleans acquires Russell Westbrook and sends back Hart, J.J. Reddick, and Lonzo Ball? Not having many draft picks complicates matters, but Hart could become a better player in Houston than the one he was in New Orleans.

Next: Trade Target No. 1