The Houston Rockets are looking to go from rebuilding to contending this summer. Fans have heard the rumors of James Harden’s return, and they have cap space and tons assets if they want to leap quickly up the standings.
The Rockets traded James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in January 2021. The ten-time All-Star wanted out after making the playoffs eight straight years but failing to win a championship. He formed a “Big 3” in Brooklyn with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as Houston was left picking up the pieces.
The Rockets have had seven first-round picks over the two drafts since Harden left to rebuild their franchise. What if Houston nailed those selections? What would their roster look like?
'Dream' Houston Rockets team if they nailed every NBA Draft since the James Harden trade
2nd overall pick in 2021 NBA Draft: Rockets select Evan Mobley
Actual pick: Jalen Green
The Rockets had the worst record in the NBA in 2021, but they fell to second in the lottery. Houston selected Green to be Harden’s replacement. They wanted a scoring guard that could handle the ball, make plays, and lead their offense. Green averaged 22.1 points per game in his second year as the focal point of the Rockets’ attack. He is hardly a bust, but the 6’4 guard has not vaulted his team up the standings.
Mobley is a seven-footer who can do everything on the floor. The 21-year-old averaged 16.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 1.5 blocks in his second season. He is an elite defender that can guard multiple positions, rebound, protect the rim, switch onto the perimeter, and that makes zero mention of his offensive game.
Evan Mobley becomes the centerpiece of the Rockets' rebuild with this pick, and he gets to shine as the team’s best player. Mobley is a force on both ends of the floor, and that separates him from Jalen Green and the rest of the 2021 draft class.