What can the Rockets learn from the Celtics and Warriors?
The Houston Rockets aren't a lock to replicate any and all success that they see, but they could at least try with the two finals teams.
In 2012, the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, much like the Houston Rockets the past few years, were coming off disappointing seasons. Boston had lost to the Miami Heat in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals as their core faded out of their primes', and Golden State finished with 23 wins, one of the worst records in the league, adding another losing season to make it four straight.
The Celtics had hoped to capture another championship with their big three of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. However, their championship aspirations were dealt a death blow as LeBron James carried the Heat to the Finals after being down in the series 3-2.
The following season Boston regrouped and finished the season in the playoffs once more. However, this time their playoff run would end abruptly in an upset to the New York Knicks in the first round.
While the Celtics' 2012-13 season was their worst since 2006-07, the Warriors punched their ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2007. Golden State, led by Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and a rookie Draymond Green, upset the Denver Nuggets 4-2 in the first round.
However, the Warriors quickly ran into a team with a championship pedigree in the San Antonio Spurs. Curry and the Warriors would lose the series but showed determination taking the Western Conference Champions to six games.
Even as the Warriors' playoff run ended in defeat, there was much to look forward to with a young nucleus of Curry, Thompson, and Green.
After letting Ray Allen leave in free agency the previous offseason, Boston was in a difficult situation with their remaining big-2, and it left many wondering if this was an end of an era. The Celtics soon traded their two cornerstone players in Garnett and Pierce to the Brooklyn Nets for an overhaul of draft picks.
After a down 2013-14 season, Boston would make the playoffs each season, but it wasn't until the 2016 and 2017 drafts that the franchise looked back on its way to the top. In consecutive drafts, the Celtics struck gold with their selections of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The pair of third-overall picks were Celtics via the draft compensation the Nets sent to land Garnett and Pierce.
In those years where Tatum and Brown were drafted, Golden State made three Finals appearances and won two NBA titles with their core.
In 2022, both teams are competing against each other in the Finals. This is the sixth Finals appearance for the Warriors in the last eight years and after securing an overhaul of picks Boston finds itself in the Finals for the first time since 2010 and now has a championship window, such as the Warriors.
Now, what can the Rockets learn from these two teams? The obvious answer would be to draft well and although that is one of the reasons for success in the NBA; the main thing is to keep intact the core for years to come. Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Alperen Sengun, and the third pick have a chance to resemble the success of both the Warriors and the Celtics. Patience will be viable with this organization as many fans have crowned Green as the franchise's savior after losing James Harden mid-season.
The Rockets traded Harden to Brooklyn for eight first round picks with four being swaps and having some luck in the lottery granted Houston with Green who many have as the team's next franchise player.