The Houston Rockets were the worst team in basketball in 2021, but that doesn't mean that their ceiling isn't getting higher in 2022.
It can be a difficult task to find the good during rebuilding seasons sometimes. The start of the 2021 season for the Houston Rockets made it seem like everyone was going to be in for a long year.
Jalen Green struggled, the offense was non-existent at times, and the chemistry lacked. None of this was unique for the Rockets as they tried to move on from the clear identity created during the years of success created by James Harden and company, bu terrible losing streaks can still be hard to swallow.
These things take time, and while the final record wouldn't show it, there were few ways that this season could've gone better for Houston.
The obvious first way of winning was getting a great draft pick while also finding a way to grow the young talent. The Rockets knew that they didn't have to worry about the number in the win column as long as guys like Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., and the other young players were able to find out who they were.
That looks like exactly what we got.
While the year started out rough, the key players were able to find their strides at various points in the season. Green ended the year looking like a superstar, Porter has made an obvious case to remain the starting point guard for one more season with improvements in ball distribution and as a ridiculously-good three-point shooter, and Kenyon Martin and Alperen Sengun proved that they deserve more minutes in 2022.
This team is far better at winning basketball games and has a really good young core; they just have to get these improvements to carry over from 2021 into a full season.
The guards need to pick up where they left off, Jae'Sean Tate and Martin should probably start getting some minutes at the three, and some combination of Sengun, a rookie, and/or Wood will round out a team that will have the talent to compete with any team in the league sooner than later.
The best move would probably be to move off some of the veteran options to put more young guys in positions to compete and grow as early as possible, but it would also make sense for Stephen Silas to want to keep as much of the group from this past season together to keep growing like we saw.
This is obviously still a multi-year process, but the players have proven that the upside is there. We just need to see it over a full season. There might be more growing pains, but leaning into these and taking every opportunity to flesh out this roster in 2022 could put the Rockets in a genuine spot to compete in 2023.