16 Players the Houston Rockets gave up on way too soon

Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry
Houston Rockets, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry / Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
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10. Goran Dragic

Dragic was a second-round draft pick in 2008 that quickly earned minutes. He was a backup guard in 2010 when the Suns reached the conference finals before losing to the eventual champion Lakers. Dragic wanted more minutes, and Phoenix was trying to cling to contention, so they traded him to Houston with a first-round pick for Aaron Brooks.

The Rockets had Kyle Lowry, but an injury opened the door for Dragic. He started the final 26 games of the 2011-12 season where he averaged 18.2 points, 8.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 36.5 minutes per game. It was a breakout season that had Houston believing Dragic was their point guard of the future, but it did not work.

Dragic became an unrestricted free agent, and the two sides could not agree on a new deal.

The Suns snatched Dragic back in free agency on a four-year deal where he was the unquestioned starter and continued blossoming. The Dragon averaged over 20 points per game for the first time in 2014, and he earned his first All-Star nod in 2018 with the Miami Heat.

Goran Dragic was a starting point guard for five seasons after leaving the Rockets, and he spent more as a productive role player coming off the bench. The Houston Rockets helped him break out but were unwilling to pay him after he did. It forced the franchise to lose him too soon and to regret it.