Fred VanVleet: A-
This was the biggest need for this young Rockets team. The organization that successfully converted James Harden into one of the best point guards in the league believed that they could do the same with Kevin Porter Jr. Even though Porter Jr. has shown that he has the makings of a quality NBA player, he was not quite able to bring order to a chaotic rebuilding team under the coaching of Stephen Silas.
You get the sense that the hiring of Ime Udoka drastically changed the outlook on Houston's offseason. Favoring defensive-minded players who are viewed as high-effort winning players, it was always going to be difficult for Harden to fit into Udoka's vision for a team that has been a bottom-tier defense for the past three seasons.
Enter 29-year-old Fred VanVleet on a three-year deal for approximately $130 million. Some Rockets insiders have reported that the third year is a team option.
VanVleet fits nicely into the needs of this team. He may not be one of the premier point guards in the league, but he has proven to be a quality defender and decision maker who can shoot at a high level in competitive games. He is not the free agent that instantly vaults the Rockets into championship contention but any kind of signing with that hope would have been an exercise in impatience and folly.
He was an undrafted free agent who worked his way into being the only player who stole a Finals MVP vote from Kawhi Leonard in 2019. The Rockets overpay for a couple of years in order to get a player who will mentor guys like Jalen Green and KPJ while also adding instant wins to the team's 2023 season. Great signing.