Rockets News

3 reasons trading James Harden would be the Rockets’ biggest mistake

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 20: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 20, 2020 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 20: James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets looks on during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on January 20, 2020 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

3. The last 5 draft classes haven’t produced many top-20 players

When a team decides to trade away superstars, they usually try to get back future 1st-round picks to rebuild their team. The problem with this is that no matter how great a player is in college, it does not guarantee success in the NBA.

Over the last five years, there have been several outstanding players, and even some All-Stars. Let’s take a look at the list of the top players from the last five NBA draft classes. It’s worth noting that these players weren’t exactly the top pick in their draft classes, but the best player based on how they have performed:

  • 2015-Karl Anthony-Towns/Devin Booker
  • 2016-Ben Simmons
  • 2017-Jayson Tatum
  • 2018-Luka Doncic
  • 2019-Ja Morant

A quick look at these names would lead one to think that the Houston Rockets would be in good shape if they can land a similar type of player through the draft. But building through the draft isn’t an exact science, as for every Jayson Tatum, there’s a Josh Jackson-type example, who was drafted just as high as Tatum.

A quick glimpse at the 2015 NBA Draft is further proof of how difficult it can be to guarantee a gem within the draft lottery, as there have only been five All-Stars from that entire draft class. Sure, there have been really good players, and even some potentially great players from that draft class, but in spite of that, it’s resulted in just five All-Stars.

From those players, none of them have reached the second round of the NBA playoffs. Although you can find All-Star players in the draft, unless they are a generational-type player, like Harden, it will be a slow grind for several years to get to the point where Harden is at now, as he’s a top shooting guard who is still in his prime.

Next: No. 2

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