The 2020-21 Houston Rockets vs. the 2001-02 Rockets
Even though the 2001-02 and 2020-21 teams both had similarly horrible records, this year’s team has multiple key rotation players already in place. With players like Wood and Porter Jr., who could possibly be franchise players, along with multiple rotation pieces going forward, this year’s team has a better chance to be competitive quicker than the 2002 squad.
With the drafting of Yao Ming that of course improved that year’s team from bottom dwellers to a team who had some hope, that team still had alot of holes to fill, even with Yao joining the roster.
This year’s team has more young talent, but of course it comes down to the most important draft in almost 20 years for the Rockets. That’s because the Rockets will learn whether they will be drafting a possible generational talent in Cade Cunningham or waiting until late in the first-round for their first pick.
The Rockets were better after the first couple of years after the Yao draft, but they were still a bottom-tier team hovering around the 45-win mark. This didn’t change until the Rockets traded Francis for Tracy McGrady.
With draft luck and the natural progression of good players from their first really good year to the second year, the 2020-21 Houston Rockets have a chance to go from the worst team in the league to a legitimate playoff contender. You never know how young players will progress from one year to the next.
They could become All Stars or just really good role players, but the Rockets have enough players with potential that there remains a good chance that one or more of these picks will turn into that franchise player.
Oh, and as mentioned before, in the 2002 draft lottery the Rockets only had a 8.9% chance at the first pick, which is even lower than this year’s 14% probability so hopefully that eases some of the angst that Rockets fans have (although we all know it probably won’t).