After undergoing a complete teardown and organizational overhaul, the Houston Rockets find themselves in possession of one of the NBA's best young cores. Such is life when a team drafts second, third, and fourth in consecutive years (so long as they're drafting correctly).
The Rockets drafted Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and Amen Thompson with those picks and nabbed Nikola Jokic's protégé with the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft in Alperen Sengun. Not to mention Tari Eason, who the Rockets selected with the 17th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, thanks to James Harden.
When you add Kevin Porter Jr., who the Rockets were able to acquire for an old pair of Hakeem Olajuwon sneakers, that leaves the Rockets with six of their best players all under the age of 23-years-old.
Rockets legend Tracy McGrady is a fan of the team's youth movement but is also aware of what that can mean long-term and how it can be a challenge to keep that group together for the long haul.
McGrady explained the dangers of having such a young group on The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots, & Brad Kellner on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 FM Houston.
Tracy McGrady reveals Rockets' long-term challenge with young core
"I love the twin that they have. I've been following that kid, because he did play high school ball down in Florida- in my home state- so I've been watching him for awhile. I think he's pretty special.
Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.
The core group that they're gonna have, if they can keep those guys together, which is gonna be a challenge, if they can keep those guys together for quite some time, I think the Rockets may have something.
But you know it's always a challenge. It's a lot of moving parts and pieces in this league with all of this money being thrown around. The pieces are there, we'll see what they do with it."
McGrady knows a thing or two about young cores being broken up due to the business side of the league, as he was a part of a young Toronto Raptors team that featured both he and his cousin Vince Carter, who were both under the age of 24 when McGrady was dealt to the Orlando Magic, as the Magic sought to make McGrady their superstar and franchise cornerstone.
Neither McGrady's Magic nor Carter's Raptors were able to advance beyond the opening round of the playoffs after the young, promising duo was divided.
The Rockets will surely be trying everything in their power to avoid having to split up their young, promising core.