3 Houston Rockets named "best of the NBA's next generation"

The Houston Rockets' Alperen Sengun was named one of the best young players in the NBA.
The Houston Rockets' Alperen Sengun was named one of the best young players in the NBA. / Tim Warner/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets are at a crossroads.

They're a young team, but they also have key veterans. They could trade for a star player to complement those veterans, or they could let their young core develop.

For what it's worth, there's a lot of young talent on this roster. It seems that The Ringer agrees. They named three young Rockets in a list naming the 25 best players in the NBA who are 25 or under.

Houston Rockets core gets their due

The first name on the list was Jabari Smith Jr. He rounds the list out at 25.

"Picture Aaron Gordon, except give him Jaden McDaniels’s arms and a silky jump shot. That’s the promise of Smith"

Isaac Levy-Rubinett, The Ringer

That feels like a fair ranking for Smith Jr. His offensive game still needs some polish. Still, it's easy to envision his potential - and The Ringer agrees.

Next, we've got Jalen Green clocking in at 22. If anything, that might be generous. The Ringer rightfully point out that Green has so far only thrived under specific circumstances.

"Green’s rise came in the absence of Alperen Sengun, whose absence gave Green a bigger runway to attack the rim"

Seerat Sohi, The Ringer

Another fair analysis. Green's torrid 2023-24 March came during Sengun's absence. Jabari Smith Jr. was playing the 5.

As it stands, Smith Jr. is too thin to man the 5 on a full-time basis. Finding a bulkier 5 who shoots as well as Smith Jr. won't be easy. If Green needs to play next to a stretch big man to look like a star, that will significantly limit the Rockets' team-building options.

Finally, Sengun ranked 12th on this list. That's impressive. It seems that The Ringer is very high on him.

"Sengun will be an MVP finalist at some point in the next five years"

Michael Pina

Does any other Rocket belong on this list?

Houston Rockets have more talent to develop

Not yet.

It's not hard to envision Amen Thompson cracking this list by the end of next season. Cam Whitmore has the potential to get there as well. Even Tari Eason could prove such an elite role player that he finds his way into the top 25 under 25.

None of them have reached that level yet. The Rockets' 2023-24 rookies find themselves in a precarious situation. They're joining the team just as it's transitioning into win-now mode. Unlike Smith Jr., Green and Sengun, they've had to earn their time.

That's what happens when you get to a crossroads.