7 recent events that show Rockets need a wake-up call

Celebrities Attend Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets
Celebrities Attend Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets / Marcus Ingram/GettyImages
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It's been quite an active offseason for the Houston Rockets, who are seeking to transition into phase two of their rebuild. The Rockets nailed their head coaching hire, nailed the 2023 NBA Draft, and accomplished their goals in free agency (for the most part).

The Rockets entered free agency with the plan of adding defensive reinforcements, a floor general, and veterans (preferably vets with championship experience). With Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks,
the Rockets filled their point guard void and added an elite defender.

Jeff Green was another veteran with championship experience, and Jock Landale was essentially a contingency plan at center after the Rockets lost out on their top target, Brook Lopez.

However, the Rockets front office struck out in a major way as it pertains to the management of their assets, specifically their draft capital (more specifically their second-round picks).

The Rockets traded TyTy Washington, Usman Garuba, two second-round picks, and $1.1 million in cash to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal that was essentially made to clear enough salary to bring in both Dillon Brooks and Brook Lopez in a sign-and-trade deal (the Rockets went through with the trade after Lopez backed out because they wanted to honor their word with Atlanta).

The Rockets then moved Patty Mills, who they had previously acquired from the Brooklyn Nets (along with a future second-rounder, which Brooklyn dealt to get rid of Mills' expiring 6.8 million in 2023-24), and three second-round picks of their own (2024, 2029, and 2030) to the Oklahoma City Thunder (who later moved him to Atlanta, ironically). On the positive side, the Rockets did land two second-round picks from the LA Clippers in exchange for forward KJ Martin.

7 recent events that show Rockets need a wake-up call

All told, the Rockets gave up five second-rounders and landed three in return (one by way of the Mills deal with Brooklyn and two in the Martin deal with LAC). You don't have to be a math wizard to see the problem here.

And perhaps the best second-round pick in the deal is the Rockets' 2024 second, which will be going to the Thunder. And I won't even get into the decision to deal two second-round picks just to punt on two recent first-round selections (because I've already done that).

The attitude from many in the fanbase has been "Oh well, who cares about second-round picks anyways," however second-round picks have become more valuable than ever, in large part because of the Stepien rule, which prevents teams from trading their own first-round picks in consecutive years. Not to mention the fact that several of the NBA's star players were selected in the second-round (Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Jalen Brunson, Draymond Green, to name a few).

In case you don't quite see the value of a second-round pick, I'll walk you through seven recent trades, in which a team added a formidable player in exchange for second-round draft capital.