The 2021 NBA Draft has the potential to go down as one of the best drafts in history. This makes the fact that the Houston Rockets may have won the night so exciting. With four first-round selections, the Rockets turbocharged their rebuild and are set to be competitive in the seasons ahead.
If the Rockets’ summer league return is a sign of things to come, then their rookie class should be making an immediate impact. Jalen Green, the second overall pick, showed why he was considered the best pure scorer in the draft. Alperen Sengen, the 16th pick, looked every bit the Turkish League MVP he is, Josh Christopher, the 24th pick, flashed big-time two-way potential, and Usman Garuba, the 23rd pick, was busy in Tokyo trying to get Spain on the medal podium.
As promising as the Rockets rookie class looks, the fact remains, the NBA is a tough place for rookies. When the season starts, each member of the Rockets’ rookie quartet will be 19. It won’t be until the 2023-24 season that they’ll all be able to celebrate a win with a beer.
Tempering expectations is a must when evaluating rookies. The league MVP, Nikola Jokic, only averaged 10 points a game as a rookie, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Finals MVP, averaged 6.8 points per game in his maiden season. So what can Rockets fans expect from their rookies this upcoming season?
To paint a picture of what to expect from each of the Rockets’ rookies, I’ve selected a player with a similar player profile. Player comparisons are an inexact science, but they can help illustrate what to expect now and down the line. These are the rookie player comparisons for the Rockets 2021-22 rookie class, starting with the 24th pick.