Houston Rockets: How long the Rockets’ rebuild will take

James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets Houston Rockets general manaer Rafeal Stone (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
James Harden #13 of the Brooklyn Nets Houston Rockets general manaer Rafeal Stone (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Cade Cunningham #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets rebuild: The 52% chance

The 2021 NBA draft has been hyped for years and the top of the draft is viewed as having multiple franchise-altering players. Landing a top-four pick would give the Rockets a chance at a franchise cornerstone to build around and get the team headed in the right direction.

Almost every NBA draft publication has the top-five prospects as Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green, Jalen Suggs, and Jonathan Kuminga. Each member of the quintet has All-Star or better upside and could become the focal point for all of the Rockets’ future plans.

Cunningham, the consensus number one pick, has the ability to carry an NBA offense from day one and could develop an incredible pick and roll partnership with Christian Wood. His playmaking is viewed as being a plus but he had more turnovers than assists this season at Oklahoma State, so his playmaking might take a while to fully come around.

Mobley is a modern NBA big man that has All-Defensive team potential and could one day have the offense run through him, although that will likely take time. The combination of him with Wood would give the Rockets a modern iteration of the twin towers and could completely change the NBA’s aversion to playing big.

Green is an explosive athlete that will have no problem scoring in the NBA. The rest of his game will need to develop and there is some concern that he’ll be a Zach LaVine type who takes years to fully realize his potential but he has all the tools to be an impact player.

Suggs is the quintessential NBA combo-guard who, depending on how he develops, could orchestrate an offense or be a team’s go-to scorer. Teams tend to crave certainty but Suggs’ future role will be in the eye of the developer, which could be intriguing to the Rockets.

Kuminga is the rawest of the group but his physical ability gives him a sky-high upside. Standing at 6’8 with a 7’0 wingspan Kuminga has the ability to guard one through five and also has the potential to one day be a team’s go-to scorer. He’ll take time to reach his potential but five years after the draft he could end up being the best of the bunch.

If the Rockets can land one of these five players they’d suddenly have an intriguing young-core to build around. Christian Wood is only 25-years-old, Kevin Porter Jr. has flashed in limited action, and Jae’Sean Tate looks poised to have a long NBA career as a defensive ace.

If the Rockets keep their first-round pick they’ll be able to land one of these players and with the Trail Blazers and Milwaukee Bucks first-round picks they could even move up a spot to secure their preferred player. The best part about being really bad is that you can draft the best available player and not worry about who it pushes out of the rotation.

The timeline for the Rockets’ rebuild will be sped up by two to three years if they can keep their 2021 first-round pick. As of right now, the Rockets have a 52-percent chance to keep it, if the coin lands on heads then the Rockets could become competitive in a hurry.

Next: The long rebuild

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