As the Denver Nuggets continue their impressive run in the NBA Finals, teams across the league are sitting up and taking notice. Among them, the Houston Rockets find themselves in an especially intriguing position. Being a young and growing team, Houston has every reason to envy Denver's success, and importantly, to learn from it.
In comparing the Houston Rockets with the Denver Nuggets, we find striking resemblances in their key players: Alperen Sengun and Nikola Jokic, Jalen Green and Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr and Jabari Smith Jr. These comparisons suggest that the Rockets are on a similar trajectory to that of the Nuggets. Should Houston focus on developing this core, they could very well mirror the success that Denver is currently experiencing.
Sengun and Jokic- Two Skilled bigs who can run the offense
Alperen Sengun and Nikola Jokic are centerpieces of their respective teams, both with an offense running heavily through them. Sengun and Jokic share not just physical similarities but also basketball IQ. Just like Jokic, Sengun has the ability to effectively distribute the ball, making his teammates better while still providing significant scoring output. Houston can look at the Nuggets' successful offensive strategy, with Jokic as the facilitator, as a blueprint for utilizing Sengun's unique skillset.
Scoring Machines - Jalen Green and Jamal Murray
In Jamal Murray, the Denver Nuggets have found an unrelenting competitor whose scoring ability keeps them always in the game. A similar comparison can be drawn with the Rockets' Jalen Green. His explosive scoring ability and fierce competitiveness are reminiscent of Murray. As Green matures in the league, his potential seems promising, much like Murray’s when he first started.
Elite tall wings- Jabari Smith Jr and Michael Porter Jr.
When we talk about Michael Porter Jr. and Jabari Smith Jr., the similarities are striking. They're both tall, sharpshooters with a shoot-first mentality, able to make the most of any scoring opportunity. Porter Jr., a proven offensive threat, capitalizes on his height and shooting skills to become an invaluable asset to his team, requiring the constant attention of opposing defenses.
But it's Smith Jr. who introduces a twist to this comparison. While his offensive game echoes that of Porter Jr.'s, Smith Jr. brings an additional strength: his potential on the defensive end. His promising defensive capabilities, coupled with his offensive prowess, give him the potential to emerge as a more rounded two-way player.
The Denver Nuggets' recent success shines a light on the path for the Houston Rockets. With a young core that mirrors Denver's in many ways, the Rockets have every reason to be optimistic. If they can leverage the strengths of their promising players, the same way Denver has, they stand on the potential of reaching the finals sooner rather then later.