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Identifying the Rockets core

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Clutch, Mar 9, 2022.

  1. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
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    Most of the fans here get it, but the young crowd seems to have a different idea of what the Rockets core is. I don't want to set up a Strawman argument, but I see many if not all of these players listed under the "we need to keep" section.

    Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Alperen Sengun, Jae'Sean Tate, Christian Wood, KJ Martin, Josh Christopher, Daishen Nix, Usman Garuba

    This is what the Rockets actual core is:

    Jalen Green

    That's it. And it's a huge upgrade over the core last season. Guys like Sengun and KPJ are obviously more valuable than Garuba, for example, and can establish themselves as part of the core around Jalen, but they still have to prove they are the right fits. Jalen is not a lock to be a special player but they have to build around him with that as the plan.

    The Rockets should still be in asset accumulation mode and I'm hoping they'll be good enough asset managers, as they were under Daryl, to know that there's only one untouchable player at the moment.

    Just my two cents.
     
  2. Bobbythegreat

    Bobbythegreat Member

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    Hard disagree. KPJ and Sengun have higher ceilings than Green. If those two aren't part of the "core" then the Rockets don't have any core players.

    There's others I'd like to keep too, but that group of 3 are the must keep players IMO.
     
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  3. steddinotayto

    steddinotayto Contributing Member

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    In my mind a core player can also be a player that is needed if we are to build the team around Jalen. I stressed needed because a player like, say, KPJ is expendable IF the right deal comes along and his skill set, at a high level, is the same as Jalen's (e.g. scoring). On the other hand, a player like Sengun isn't untouchable but he's shown enough (even in limited/erratic minutes) that he can be a need as his passing, low post game, off ball defense, etc. complements Jalen's game. Even Steph Curry needs his Draymond Green.
     
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  4. AroundTheWorld

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    I think it's Green and Sengun.
     
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  5. htownrox1

    htownrox1 Member

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    I agree.

    And hopefully this draft you get one of Chet, Jabari, Paolo, or Jaden and then that player also becomes untouchable. I truly believe any one of those 4 are NBA ready and have superstar potential.

    Then you roll with what you have next season and see the progression. And when free agency/trade deadline comes around if a disgruntled superstar becomes available you start making phone calls.
     
  6. Mathloom

    Mathloom Consumption is a waste of time.
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    Well, if we're saying "untouchable" that means even if someone offers the #1 pick this summer, you wouldn't accept a swap. Also important: as we've seen, busts are random and can happen to anyone so a #1 pick is never a sure fire impact player.

    In that scenario, I keep Jalen but I could be convinced to make Sengun untouchable too if he has a great run to end the season. I believe Sengun will be an All Star too. I really think he's a quicker, smaller equally talented Jokic. The lack of 3pter is really hurting Sengun's game, but everything we've heard about his shot in practice has been promising.
     
  7. Hemingway

    Hemingway Member
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    For the right price all our players and picks are expendable, but it is not reasonable that we would get a massive return for any player on the team including Jalen. Given that there are no blockbusters that are realistic, I believe our core is Jalen, KPJ, and Sengun. If we want to make a move as early as next year our best asset is our 2023 FRP. Coupling that with this year’s Brooklyn pick and maybe Tate or Wood or both MIGHT get you a Myles Turner or a dissatisfied KAT. What if this year’s pick is Chet or Jabari? I think you go forward with the same cast (hopefully minus Wood and Gordon) and delay trading any of these young guys until before the 2023 trade deadline.
     
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  8. rockbox

    rockbox Around before clutchcity.com

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    I actually think KPJ can still turn into a core piece by the end of this season. His issue has always been consistency.
     
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  9. Clutch

    Clutch Administrator
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    In my opinion, that trio has to establish themselves as playing at a high level together. There is a lot of upside in both of those guys and they could easily establish themselves as vital cogs around Jalen, but if it's not working, they're going before Jalen is.

    Jalen was truly awful for much of the season. His athleticism was on display but his feel for the game and skillset seemed less than promised, especially on drives and finishes around the basket.

    But he's clearly getting it now. His athleticism and speed are elite. He's knocking down shots. He's got areas to improve but you can see the future with him.

    KPJ is improving in key areas and has great off-court chemistry with Jalen. Sengun has a bright future but he still needs to establish himself as the starting center of the future.

    Until the Rockets get a clear #2, I think they are limiting themselves by locking in on anyone but Jalen right now.
     
  10. jim1961

    jim1961 Member

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    I think we better wait till after the next draft before defining what are core is and/or how to build around it.

    I expect some other changes during the off-season that may affect this question also.
     
  11. Bo6

    Bo6 Member

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    T1 Green
    T2 Sengun / KPJ
    T3 KMJ / Nix / Christopher
    T4 Garuba / Tate
     
  12. xaos

    xaos Member

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    Good post and props for the bold take.

    We as fans fall in love way too quickly with our own players. That doesn't mean Green isn't tradeable. If Memphis said they would trade us Ja Morant for Green plus pieces we should jump at it. That isn't going to happen. There's likely not a lot of actual trades that would happen involving Green.

    I know people are going to hate that you didn't put Sengun on the list of our core, but it's understandable. Could we build around Green and Sengun? Yes... but, I already see people saying they wouldn't draft Banchero because we have Sengun, but is Sengun really a better prospect than Banchero? Maybe a bad example.
     
    #12 xaos, Mar 9, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
  13. DaDakota

    DaDakota Green and KPJ are both COMBO guards
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    I respectfully dIsagree @Clutch

    I don't think we have ANYONE that is a core piece yet and could all be traded for a Star player.

    I think we do have some that we would like to build around, but until someone emerges as a GREAT NBA player, they are all on the block.

    DD
     
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  14. Hemingway

    Hemingway Member
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    The only way the three of them can show they can meld and be effective is to get the playing time they need together. It took a Wood sick night to get our jack-ass coach to do it and they showed in the first half how incredible the 3 of them can be. Add a rim protector and get Tate out of the starting line-up and this team will be in contention for the play-in next year. I honestly believe that, but only if Silas either gets it or is gone.
     
  15. TimDuncanDonaut

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    The standard answer is maybe Green. Arguable on the few other close ones.

    Small part of me also think the next core may not include any of the current guys, including Green. The young draftees could have an average length NBA career. It's still too soon to tell if any will be the next franchise changing player. The good news is they haven't been ruled out yet.

    The core might technically start with the Jabari/Chet class (or after). That's a more pessimistic view, but the 2023 timeline is likely too ambitious. Doesn't mean the current guys are busts or no potential, it's too soon to tell... And if you have confidence that this development staff can take them there.

    76ers had to cycle through Evan Turner, Okafor and Fultz, to later confirming that Embid is the guy.
     
    #15 TimDuncanDonaut, Mar 9, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2022
  16. apollo33

    apollo33 Member
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    At one point we are going to run out of roster space/minutes for all these young players. At that point we would need to make some tough decisisions. But I think for now, it's a bit early to truly identify a core. You also don't want to sell low on these 1-2 year players that might develop later on.
     
  17. Houston77

    Houston77 COOKIES AND CAKE, MY TEAM BAKED!
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    I get the impression that the Rockets also group KPJ along with Green in this analysis. Yes, we spent the #2 overall pick on Green, but they have also expended massive resources indirectly on KPJ -- you don't make a 40+ mil player sit home just so a young player can gain experience if you don't believe in that young player.
     
  18. sydmill

    sydmill Member

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    I think everything is subjective right now. The Rockets will hopefully get another tier 1, foundational player out of the draft this summer and another rotation level guy (or more) with the Brooklyn pick. And then there is the opportunity for big game free agent hunting in 2023. Until those variables are known its all projection. Personally, I look at guys like Sengun and KPJ and see them as young and inexperienced yet still showing signs of already being solid rotation pieces and think that with some seasoning they could be more than that. Maybe its me defining the core as guys I expect to be around in 3 or 4 years vs guys who I think are like vital to the success of the team. Regardless, for me the core is Green, KPJ & Sengun. The remaining guys might have a place on the team as depth but I wouldnt necessarily label them as core pieces.
     
  19. palmsnbananas

    palmsnbananas Member

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    I am not the biggest Green fan but I agree

    The rest of the guys on the team (that aren’t vets) aren’t remotely good/great players or have that potential. I don’t care how many threads you make about JChris Sengun Garuba KMartin DNix. Sengun is the only one with real nba level skills and he’s limited height/reach wise, I think he becomes a decent back up big.

    It’s the truth and the truth may hurt
     
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  20. DaDakota

    DaDakota Green and KPJ are both COMBO guards
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    BTW as much as I like KPJ - I think Nix will be a better PG - so if he emerges, I would look to flip KPJ for a big - we need size.

    DD
     

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