5 Players the Houston Rockets gave up on a bit too early

Should the Houston Rockets have waived Isaiah Hartenstein?
Should the Houston Rockets have waived Isaiah Hartenstein? / Sarah Stier/GettyImages
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If you've loved a team for long enough, you miss some players. You may feel that your favorite team gave up on them too quickly. Imagine if they'd hung onto your guy for just a little bit longer.

The Houston Rockets, like any NBA team, have made this mistake. They've given up on players too quickly. If you look through the annals of the team's history, you will find examples.

That's what we're doing here. You may not see your guy. That's because we're using our own criteria.

For example, Kyle Lowry will not be found on this list. He was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a first-round pick. In time, the Rockets would use that pick to trades for James Harden.

Sure, Lowry blossomed after leaving the Rockets. We'll take James Harden. Here, we're looking at players who the Rockets gave up on without receiving much in return - that's what qualifies giving up on them as "too soon".

Here are five players who meet that criteria.

1. Isaiah Hartenstein

Hindsight is 20/20. It's easy to look at some of these players and recognize now that they could have been useful. The Rockets unceremoniously waived Hartenstein after he averaged 11.6 minutes per game for them in 2019-20.

At the same time, some Rockets fans saw potential in the man affectionally known as Harty. During his brief time on the team, Hartenstein flashed plus positional passing and defensive chops.

Now, those abilities are on full display for the New York Knicks. Hartenstein has effectively shared the starting role with Mitchell Robinson in 2023-24. Would he have a place on the current Rockets?

We think so. No, Hartenstein wouldn't usurp Alperen Sengun as the starter. He could be a solid backup for the rising star. Hartenstein has enough passing ability to run similar sets, and he's a stronger defender.

Unfortunately, the Rockets gave up on him too quickly.