Grade the Trade: Rockets land recent Defensive Player of the Year in new proposal

Could the Houston Rockets flip Jock Landale for a defensive ace?
Could the Houston Rockets flip Jock Landale for a defensive ace? / Amanda Loman/GettyImages

Feels like we're writing a lot of these lately, doesn't it?

That's because the Houston Rockets are frequently found in trade rumors. That's what happens when a competitive team lands the third pick. There's an underlying assumption that the team could look to make a move.

Bleacher Report is at it again. They've even got the Rockets making a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies again. We feel a moral obligation to evaluate every trade proposal involving the Rockets at SpaceCityScoop.

Let's take a look at BR's recent proposal

Houston Rockets land defensive ace in bold proposal

There are a lot of lenses to view a trade through. Is the trade sensible? Is it beneficial? Those are related questions - but they're different.

This trade is sensible. Marcus Smart is two years removed from being the first guard to win the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award since Gary Payton. He would make the Rockets a better team.

Meanwhile, the Rockets stick in the lottery with this deal. The ninth pick won't give them as many options as the third pick, but this deal has them bringing in an impactful player while still injecting their roster with young talent.

That doesn't mean we'd do the deal.

Houston Rockets should keep third pick

Full disclosure: we have landed on two prospects that we like for the Rockets.

Assuming that the Wizards don't reach for him, we like the idea of reaching for Ron Holland's upside. Yes, he's a flawed prospect. Sure, he's another non-shooter. The Rockets could let him marinate in the G-League and secure another young player with star potential.

Alternatively, Reed Sheppard could help the Rockets from day one. This team is starved for shooting, and Sheppard is one of the best shooters to enter the draft in a long time. He may not have Holland's upside, but he's a safe pick who fits this team.

This is where we point out that Smart shot 31.3% from long-range last year. He's been an unreliable three-point shooter for most of his career. There's a temptation to reunite him with Ime Udoka. Smart could help in continuing to build to this team's newfound defensive identity.

At some point, that doesn't have the same functional utility as adding a shooter. It also doesn't have the same long-term upside as adding Holland does. Even if the Rockets like a prospect outside of that tandem, they'd be smarter to hold serve and select the prospect they like the most.

This is a sensible deal, but we still wouldn't make it.

Grade: B