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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5. Sacramento Kings nab Chris Duarte from Indiana Pacers for multiple second-round picks

The Sacramento Kings were the Cinderella NBA team of the 2022-23 season. NBA fans were lighting the beam and saw the Kings seemingly morph into a contender overnight, finishing third in the Western Conference.

Kings GM Monte McNair (who came from the Houston Rockets) hired Mike Brown, who won Coach of the Year in his first season in Sac-Town, and has quietly been making great moves. Just several months before Brown was hired, the Kings made the trade to land superstar Domantas Sabonis, who made the All-NBA Third Team in his first full season with the Kings (along with teammate De'Aaron Fox).

After the season, the Kings decided to trade for Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte, in a deal that cost them a 2028 second-round pick (via the Dallas Mavericks) and the Kings' own 2030 second-round pick. In Duarte, the Kings land a crafty scorer who can come in off the second unit and give them instant offense.

Duarte struggled in Indiana due to both injuries and a logjam at guard. In spite of that, he showed flashes of what made him a lottery pick in the 2021 NBA Draft (13th overall pick), especially as a rookie. In 2021-22, Duarte averaged 13.1 points and 4.1 rebounds on 36.9 percent from deep, on a healthy 4.6 attempts.

Duarte was named to the All-Rookie Second-Team and is a worthy gamble for the Kings, especially for two picks that they won't have to surrender anytime soon.