The Houston Rockets, after selecting in the top three of the past two drafts, once again look destined for the top of the NBA draft lottery. The combination of the 21st-ranked defense and 28th-ranked offense has them 29th in net rating and owners of a 1-8 record. However, it is the team that is one spot below the Rockets in net rating, the Detroit Pistons, who they should take inspiration from.
The Rockets need to take a cylinder out of the Pistons’ engine
The Pistons, much like the Rockets, are rebuilding around two top-five picks, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. After finishing last season with the 29th worst 3-point shooting, the executives in the motor city decided that a clogged lane and spacing akin to a Chinese metro was not the offensive environment to foster the development of their two prized prospects.
In one of the surprise trades of the offseason, the Pistons traded for the Utah Jazz’s Bojan Bogdanovic. For much of the offseason, his 18.3 points per game on 40.3% 3-point shooting since 2018-19 seemed destined for a contender. Instead, the Pistons swooped in for the excellent veteran, not to make a playoff push but to help their young core develop.
The addition of Bogdanovic has clearly helped their offense and in turn, Cunningham and Ivey. The Pistons have improved their offensive rating from 106 to 108.7, and when Bogdanovic, Cunningham, and Ivey share the court, they’re almost a league-average offense, posting a 111.6 offensive rating.
Almost league-average offense is incredibly hard to come by for a team with two incredibly young guards leading the way, as Rockets fans know all too well. Bogdanovic isn’t a world-beating offensive talent, but he possesses the traits the Pistons need to help their future core reach their potential, and the Rockets would be wise to follow suit.