The 2020-21 season has been a lost year for the Houston Rockets, as the team was dealt with a bevy of adversity and drama, ranging from star players like James Harden and Russell Westbrook wanting out of Houston, along with longtime personnel members Daryl Morey and Mike D’Antoni also departing. The Rockets have also dealt with injuries to star player Christian Wood, which caused the team to go on a 20-game losing streak in his absence.
Rockets GM Rafael Stone and head coach Stephen Silas have done their part to press forward this season as best as possible, as Stone has acquired young talented players such as Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, KJ Martin, and Kevin Porter Jr, while Silas has been responsible with developing the young quartet. Each player has had some impressive showings, which has given fans reason for excitement about the Rockets’ future.
But just as the front office has put a focus on adding young talent, they’ve also acquired veterans in practically all of their trades they’ve made this season, causing many to question the Rockets’ thinking. Many within the fanbase have also questioned the motive for Silas giving Avery Bradley as much playing time as he’s received, in addition to inserting him into the starting lineup.
Are the Houston Rockets making a mistake by investing so much in older veterans this season?
On Sunday, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explained why the Rockets have made it a point to invest in the veteran players, despite having a crew of younger talented players on Texas Sports Nation,
“It was interesting to see when Kevin Porter Jr. did struggle and it bothered him. He missed his first eight shots, Kelly Olynyk went straight up to him and talked to him about it.
Which is why they’ve chosen to mix the team with not just all young guys, but to mix in some veterans. Like D.J. Augustin, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley.
So you’ll have some of that influence, and we saw that. Try and keep [the younger players’] attitudes, which have been good, at a level where they can continue to improve. You don’t want them to develop bad habits.”
This is sound reasoning, as Kelly Olynyk displayed the value of having such players on the roster when he gave several words of encouragement to Porter during Friday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets. If the Rockets want to make sure to keep the younger players from developing bad habits, elder statesmen like Augustin, Olynyk, and Bradley will certainly assist with that, as Bradley has been in the league for 11 years and has played alongside all-time greats such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, which is certainly knowledge that he can pass on to younger players.
Olynyk has played alongside longtime veterans and NBA champions such as Udonis Haslem and Dwyane Wade, while also coming off an NBA Finals trip in which he averaged 11.6 points and 6 rebounds, while making 41.2 percent of his threes. As for Augustin, he’s also managed to play alongside stars such as Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Derrick Rose, and Russell Westbrook in his 13-year career and has been able to prove his value and play within his role at every stop.
With a wealth of knowledge and experience to pass on to the Rockets’ young quartet, the Rockets have been wise to surround the more inexperienced players with seasoned veterans like Olynyk, Bradley, and Augustin, not to mention John Wall.