The Houston Rockets found themselves in an unfavorable position in 2020-21, as they had 2 superstars who wanted out in James Harden and Russell Westbrook, prompting an unexpected reset of sorts. Making matters worse for the franchise is the fact that they didn't have control over their 2021 first-round pick, as it was controlled by the Oklahoma City Thunder as a result of the Chris Paul for Westbrook trade, unless it was a top-four pick.
The Rockets could very well have landed the Miami Heat's pick, which ended up being 18th, as a result of the 2019 trade that sent Paul George to the LA Clippers. All in all, the Thunder were to receive two of the best three picks, and they were also doing their best tanking impersonation, as they were outscored by 490 points over a 25-game period, setting an NBA record.
With the Thunder doing everything in their power to tank, the Rockets' chances of keeping their pick seemed to dwindle by the minute, until they ultimately gained favor from Lady Luck, which helped them secure the second pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst says Houston Rockets fans should be excited about season
ESPN's Brian Windhorst explained why the Rockets' path has set them up for the future, while also stating that the Rockets' fanbase should be excited on ESPN's Hoop Collective podcast.
"While I remain puzzled about the way Houston operated for about a two year period, I just was so mystified by some of their decisions, from the Harden trade forward, they have got their plan and they are sticking to it. And it's going well for them.
They were like listen man, we have got to get in the bottom record of this draft, because we've got to get in the top of this draft. And they got better luck, and they get the number 2 pick instead of #5. Oklahoma City wins the last day of the season and now they have a whole bunch of young guys.
And they're probably going to be awful again this year, but they're going to have a bunch of young guys being awful, which is the same idea that Oklahoma City has. Houston basically went to the script. And now if I'm a Rockets fan, I'm kind of excited to watch this season.
Even though they're probably going to lose 60 games."
As Windhorst stated, the Rockets aren't expected to be contenders this season, but the in-game repetitions and experience could do wonders for what will surely be one of the youngest teams in the league this season.