With the season’s conclusion, the Houston Rockets will turn their attention to the NBA draft and free agency. The franchise’s future hinges on the NBA draft lottery but their free agency needs remain urgent to put their franchise-worst season behind them.
Injuries and league-worst shooting plagued the Rockets throughout the season and both need to be prioritized this offseason. Injuries are tough to predict but generally, younger players who have been injury-free are a better bet to remain healthy.
The Rockets’ average age this season was 26.5-years-old, which is right in the middle of the pack league-wide. Most rebuilding teams have an average age of under 25-years-old, so expect the Rockets to prioritize youth in free agency.
However, when it comes to the on-court production, the number one priority for Rockets’ General Manager Rafael Stone is to add shooting. This past season the league saw historic scoring levels, but the Rockets looked to be decades behind.
While shooting and youth are the franchise’s main priorities, if a veteran who fits the bill is available they should be aggressive in their pursuits. The Rockets’ backcourt appears to be full, but that is a short-term reality as John Wall and Eric Gordon’s days appear to be numbered and Kevin Porter Jr is still a work in progress.
Adding depth at the guard positions, especially in the modern NBA, is a necessity. Teams have no fear of playing three-guard lineups and for a team that needs shooting, it’s good to know that guards tend to be pretty good at shooting.
The NBA salary cap is projected to be at around $112 million with the luxury tax threshold at $136.6 million for the 2021-22 season. The Rockets currently have $99.9 million in salary commitments for next season but can shed $7.6 million if they decline Avery Bradley and DaQuan Jeffries’s team options to have close to $20 million to play with before the salary cap and $44 million before the luxury tax.
The Rockets are set to have enough cap space to add significant pieces this offseason and they need to be aggressive if they want to get out of the league basement. While their draft might change their needs at certain positions, any team that loses the most games in the league needs talent everywhere.
The Rockets have their center of the future in Christian Wood but outside of him the rest of their roster is up in the air. The team needs more depth and talent in the backcourt no matter who they draft this year. These are the top-four free agent guards to keep an eye on.