If the season ended today, the Houston Rockets would finish with the worst record in the NBA for a third consecutive year. Many Rockets fans wouldn't be too upset at this result because of what could be in store if the team were to win the NBA draft lottery.
Victor Wembanyama is this year's consensus number-one overall pick and is viewed as the best prospect since LeBron James over two decades ago. The problem for the Rockets is they share a 14-percent chance with two other teams to land the first overall pick and the right to select Wembanyama. However, in the scenario where the Rockets do end up drafting Wembanyama and use free agency to build around him, what would the roster look like?
Kelly Iko of the Athletic has now reported that former Rocket James Harden will be heavily pursued by the Rockets if he declines his player option, which is expected.
A reunion doesn't appear to be one-sided either, as Harden expressed as early as Christmas that he could possibly return.
If Harden does return, how would the newly revamped roster look? Harden, Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr., and Wembanyama would almost certainly start. But where would that leave Alperen Sengun? It seems silly to suggest that Sengun wouldn't start giving his successful season, but can he play alongside Wembanyama?
On offense, Sengun would actually make Wembanyama's life easier as the coveted rookie would see many double-teams. As a facilitator, Sengun would make easy reads that would allow Wembanyama to cut to the basket with relative ease making defenses focus on Sengun even more than they are now.
Although, with Harden back on the team, how many times will Sengun have the ball to create for himself and others? In Iko's report, he says that Harden is now in his "Chris Paul'' era, where he would primarily be a facilitator. With that said, Jalen Green is also in the part of his development where he will need to have the ball in his hands a lot.
On the defensive end, the argument can be made for the Rockets to entertain a trade. Sengun has a difficult time defending pick and rolls and is also a poor weakside defender. Despite being undersized, he has shown the ability to block shots, but rim protection can't just be measured in blocks.
The Rockets have a lot of work to do this upcoming offseason, and if they don't visualize Sengun in their long-term plans, then a trade could be in the works. There isn't tremendous urgency to move him soon, but by next offseason, when he becomes extension eligible, the Rockets will need to know if it fits in their plans.