3 Young players the Houston Rockets should develop, 2 to give up on

Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets
Portland Trail Blazers v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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It's been three seasons since the Houston Rockets last made an appearance in the NBA Playoffs. Right at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, star guard James Harden forced his way out of town and then the team's rebuild began.

Since then, the Rockets have been able to acquire a plethora of young talent. They're entering the 2023-24 season with the seventh-youngest roster in the NBA, as their average age is 24.4 years old.

However, it feels like the youth movement in Houston could be coming to a close. General Manager Rafael Stone and the front office got busy this summer, landing both Fred VanVleet and Dillion Brooks as free agents. Months before, he revealed that he feels the team is approaching the end of the rebuild's "first stage."

“I think we’re kind of coming to the end of the first stage of it,” Stone told ESPN's Andrew Lopez back in April . “When my group took over, we didn’t have draft picks and we didn’t have cap space. We had a team that was kind of singularly built. It was built to play a single style of play based around kind of a generational talent. And so we kind of felt like we had the right set that starting at the bottom floor.”

So, as the Rockets move into "stage two," they may have some tough decisions to make in regards to which young players will be a part of their future and which will not.

Of course, Houston's two first-rounders from this year's draft -- Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore -- are safe. We'll just focus on the returning players from last season's roster.