18 people who turned their back on the Houston Rockets franchise

NBA All-Star Game 2016
NBA All-Star Game 2016 / Elsa/GettyImages
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5. Victor Wembanyama

Victor Wembanyama was viewed as the best prospect to enter the NBA since LeBron James in 2003. And although that hyperbole never holds true, Wemby might be the exception, as he’s already done things that no other player can quite do despite still adjusting to the NBA.

For instance, he’s already an elite rim protector despite his frail frame and build. And he hasn’t backed down from any of the league’s greats, as he’s gone toe-to-toe with Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid. Before Wemby ever played a game in the NBA, teams were planning their futures around him.

Tanking suddenly became the trend, as the Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, and even Portland Trail Blazers were all lined up in anticipation of the 2023 draft lottery. When the Rockets were announced to have the fourth overall pick, Wembanyama was seen celebrating while also mouthing, “No, it’s a good thing.”

Wemby only did this when the Rockets' pick was announced.

Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. took notice and expressed his dismay. The 20-year-old went to the Spurs, who happen to be a division rival of the Rockets, adding more fuel to the fire.

Rockets coach Ime Udoka, who came from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s coaching tree, even took a crack at Wemby following his bizarre substitution gaffe, stating that Fred VanVleet didn’t pull a Wemby.