As the Houston Rockets begin life without James Harden, Rockets GM Rafael Stone is faced with the question of how to approach the impending rebuild.
On Thursday the Houston Rockets hit the reset button, as they traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, giving Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone a blank slate. However, tearing down a contender is easy, rebuilding one and deciding how to do so, is far more challenging.
Whether it be through the draft or through the trade market, the job of a general manager is to find a transcendent franchise player and to put the right complementary pieces around them. But this task is often easier said than done.
There is a reason why most NBA teams spend decades as middling teams or perennial lottery hopefuls.
In his first season as Houston’s General Manager, Rafael Stone was faced with the edict of finding the best return for James Harden. And when the dust settled on Wednesday, the Rockets came out on the other end with Victor Oladipo, four first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps, an unprecedented haul of draft capital.
While it is debatable whether Stone got a fair return for a player of Harden’s caliber, one thing is certain; moving into this rebuild, Stone has options. But before he can bring the Rockets back to title contention, there are two main philosophies of team-building that he must decide between.
Let’s take a look at them now.
Next: Building through the draft