After three years of being in basketball purgatory, your Houston Rockets have taken advantage of draft capital, spent enough money in free agency that can feed half of the country for a year, and it’s time to understand what got us here. Our 2023-2024 Houston Rockets season preview is cleared for takeoff.
In 2021, James Harden protested in his own way by still dropping 30 point double-doubles for a month while the team looked for suitable trade fits, but this time in a fat suit. Harden’s gone quick in to the night like and here begins the rebuild.
The tank begins and we finally see some glimpses of hope by a three-peat of Rafael Stone masterclasses in drafting Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Tari Eason, Jabari Smith Jr., Cam Whitmore, and Amen Thompson.
Here comes the light. Do you see it?
Mixing younger and older talent is what makes a team truly take that next step, and with hundreds of millions of dollars willing to be spent by ownership, we see some great veteran editions at some questionable price tags. Fred VanVleet was (objectively) a great pick-up, but the additions are facing an efficiency problem. Both VanVleet and Dillon Brooks are straight shot-chuckers. Both are nearly career 40% from the field. Guards have more of an excuse to be less efficient of course as they play from outside, much further from the rim and are more floor generals.
My issue here is there is only one basketball on the floor.
If we damper out young guys chances at shining, what’s the point? I’m not saying this will happen as Van Vleet is clearly a seasoned veteran who knows how to move the ball, but if we begin to see dips in our younger guards/forwards production due to either minutes restrictions or less touches, this offseason has every chance to blow back up in Houston’s face.
The great thing that new head coach Ime Udoka has stressed to the team is how much of an emphasis he will be putting on Alperen Sengun carrying the ball in the half court and taking that captain role over. This is HUGE for the squad as we have seen glimpses of how good this fit would be for him as he has been able to slow the game down to his pace and work everyone else involved in to it. Being called Baby Jokic should not be taken lightly. This your year Al-P. Go show the league how good YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN.
Bringing back up efficiency, this has to be the breakout year for Jalen. We cannot afford to trade shooting two 8/25 games for one 12/19 game anymore. The tank is done. We know how good you are at this point, It’s time you continue being one of the fastest players in the league, play downhill, and be that three-point knockdown guy we know you can be.
As for our rookies, it will be strange seeing a lottery pick in Amen Thompson and what should have been a sure-fire lottery pick in Cam Whitmore come off the bench, but this simply means out team is actually becoming competitive for the first time in four seasons. Let the veterans integrate with the youth and the minutes/usage will work itself out.
When it comes to winning, expect us to be much better than last season, but don’t expect a deep run like how things were five years ago. Let’s have fun this year and get out of this basketball purgatory we have been stuck with since 2020.
Go to a game this year. Get involved. Enjoy the never-ending hope that things will be okay. This is the year where things will make more sense.
Enjoy this moment and have fun with it. A-ha…. ha. ha. ha.
The 2023-2024 Houston Rockets season preview is cleared for takeoff.