It might be easy to get caught up in all of the positives for the Houston Rockets after the bright spots during their 2021 season, but we need to be realistic about the future.
Seasons where teams are obviously tanking or trying to devolp youth are understandbly difficult to evaluate. It is easy to brush off bad losses or records when the obvious end goals for the season are achieved, but let's not kid ourselves as to what the main goals for this Rockets team are.
Developing youth, getting draft picks, and building a roster only stay the focus for so long. The only true goal for every team in the league is winning a championship, and this Rockets team has to be better if they want to accomplish this goal.
There isn't a way to get around it; the Rockets were the worst team in basketball last season, and there is only one player on the team that is an obvious, untouchable piece for the future. Everyone else on the team is either not good enough yet or not a fit for the long-term plan.
And this is a long-term plan. Make no mistake about it. There are some fun pieces here, but you don't go from worst team in the league to contending for a title in a year. That's actually good news for this team, because while some players aren't there yet, they can get there with the right development.
Kevin Porter Jr. looks like he could become a quality starting point guard in the NBA but still has a lot of work to do. 2022 is a tryout. It makes sense to keep a guy that can shoot the three as well as KPJ, but there are no guarentees that Houston won't cut bait and take someone else if there is a better talent available this time next season.
Alperen Sengun is another player that people probably get ahead of themselves on. Yes, the upside is there, but we need to see what the dude can do on the court as an actual starter before we start pretending that the position is adequately addressed for the future.
This might seem like a pessimistic take, but it is just a realistic look at the situation. The Rockets do have good pieces to build around and to evaluate for the future, but this team can't get complacent based on where they are as a team and in player devlopment.
Growth is coming, but Houston has to make sure that growth is consistent and building towards what should be the only goal. Player additions need to be about best player available above all else. The rest should work itself out.
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