The Rockets have made sure to put it out there that they're open to moving their fourth pick in the upcoming NBA draft, in hopes of landing win-now talent and/or addressing positional needs. And anyone following the Rockets knows how bad they need a floor general.
Landing such a player would allow Jalen Green to play off-ball and open Jabari Smith Jr. up offensively. And while the Rockets have reportedly nabbed James Harden to be the floor general for their current young group, they could find a far younger and cheaper alternative by way of the draft in Scoot Henderson.
The difference is Henderson won't fall in their lap, as he'll surely be gone by the time the Rockets are on the clock with the fourth pick in next week's draft. The Charlotte Hornets, who hold the second pick, have no reason to select Henderson, due to the presence of LaMelo Ball.
Why Rockets fans shouldn't fret about getting outbid by the Pels for Scoot Henderson
This gave Rockets fans hope that a deal could be had for the second pick, and the ability to land Henderson. And the fact that recent deals have been made fairly easily to trade up only added to the hopes, prayers, and optimism.
All of that went down the drain on Monday, when The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the New Orleans Pelicans are targeting Henderson and are preparing to trade up to secure their floor general of the future, prompting doom and gloom from many within the fanbase.
But should the Rockets hold their heads low if they get beat out by the Peilcans for Henderson? The simple answer is no, for an even simpler reason: the Rockets simply don't have enough. Better yet, they don't have what the Pelicans have.
The Pelicans have the ability to attach Brandon Ingram or Zion Williamson to any package to help them move up, and according to recent reports, the franchise is willing to part with Williamson if it means getting the second pick. The mere fact that the Pelicans have two All-Stars to choose from shows exactly the uphill battle that the Rockets were always going to face, as it pertained to moving up.
And it goes without saying that those assets are much better than anything the Rockets could realistically shell out to trade up. So although it may have felt like a bummer to hear about the Pels' interest in Henderson, it should drive the point home that the Rockets never realistically had a shot at Scoot.