1. Welcome! Please take a few seconds to create your free account to post threads, make some friends, remove a few ads while surfing and much more. ClutchFans has been bringing fans together to talk Houston Sports since 1996. Join us!

The 4-Year Rebuild Cycle

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by HI Mana, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. HI Mana

    HI Mana Member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,108
    Likes Received:
    287
    Whether you wanted them to be in this position or not, the Rockets appear to be well on their way to an extended rebuild. Unlike what most people commonly think of tanking, it’s VERY hard to drop down to one of the worst records in the NBA and bounce back immediately. To truly scrape the bottom of the barrel takes a serious lack of talent, and unfortunately for fans, it will likely be an extended process, even with excellent, forward-thinking management.

    I wanted to get a realistic estimate of the timeline back to becoming a playoff team again after earning a top 7 pick by looking at the history of the recent conference finalist teams over the past decade. The results are shockingly consistent, barring two VERY obvious exceptions.

    2020 Nuggets: 4 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 2 out of 4 (Murray, Porter Jr.)
    Draft Steals: Jokic*

    2020 Lakers: 6 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 5 out of 6 (Randle, Russell*, Ingram, Ball, FRP for Davis)
    Draft Steals: Hart, Kuzma (Swapped for Russell)

    2015-2019 Warriors: 4 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 3 out of 4 (Curry, Thompson, Barnes)
    Draft Steals: Green

    2011-2016 Thunder: 3 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 4 out of 4 (Durant, Green, Westbrook, Harden)
    Draft Steals: Ibaka

    2013 Grizzlies: 4 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 1 out of 4 (Conley)

    2017-2020 Celtics: 1 year out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 1 out of 1 (Smart)

    2015-2019 Raptors: 3 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 3 out of 3 (Valanciunas, Ross, FRP for Lowry)
    Draft Steals: Siakam, Van Vleet* (undrafted), Anuoby, Powell

    2015-2018 Cavaliers: 4 years out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 3 out of 5 (Irving, Thompson, Wiggins for Kevin Love)

    2011-2014 Heat: 1 year out of the playoffs.
    First Round Draft Successes: 0 out of 1
    Draft Steals: Chalmers

    Here, the exceptions truly prove the rule. The Celtics were able to utilize three first rounders from Brooklyn to acquire Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving. The Miami Heat ushered in the era of the superteam.

    So looking at this, what should the takeaway be?

    1. Any playoffs before 2023 should be seen as being historically ahead of schedule, and that’s pretty darn scary…

    2. No matter whether you’re drafting hall of famers, solid role players, or arguably the biggest draft busts ever, no matter the market size, it takes a lot of time to rebuild from this bad of a baseline. You are drafting high for a reason. Even if you hit on all your lottery picks, you still usually need one star acquisition through free agency or trade, and at least one highway robbery late in the draft just to make the playoffs again. The current nucleus of the team is not one player away

    3. When the Rockets ship their top 7 pick to the Thunder this year it will really hurt. Looking at the same average 4-year timeline, with their 2024 pick already lost to the Thunder, it is the equivalent of missing completely in 2 out of 4 years already. Without an all-NBA acquisition for free on the level of Jokic, or Marc Gasol, PLUS at least 2 Star/Starter quality picks with their remaining assets, the Rockets will not have the talent necessary to compete at the highest level.

    4. Stephen Silas should probably be renting in Houston, not buying. Other than the aforementioned Celtics and Heat, none of the contending teams kept their head coach from the first tanking season to see out the full rebuild.

    5. Enjoy the upcoming nadir for what it is. When the games are unwatchable, your fellow diehard fans are the ones that make it bearable. A bad team makes you appreciate the great ones, and I honestly believe that going through the down times refreshes one’s love for the game.
     
  2. BMoney

    BMoney Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Messages:
    13,779
    Likes Received:
    5,966
    It will be longer than 4 years.
     
  3. HoustonWest

    HoustonWest Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2014
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    388
    Most likely. It's certainly a gamble, but the one rationale to suggest it's better to slog through the next 3-5 years of bad, bad, bad basketball is if they try and "win now" they'll max out as...the Pacers or Grizzlies of the past 10-15 years?

    Next few years are going to suck, but two teams that seem to be embracing the tank are Houston and Oklahoma City (unfortunately OKC has Houston by the metaphorical balls). Considering how stacked the west is, I'm not sure it makes sense to try and compete when there's little chance they'll even get home court advantage in the next few years.

    Hopefully they'll tank, get lucky and hit on draft picks and make stellar trades, as unlikely as it is -- but still, perhaps a better bet to roll the dice this way when looking at a conference that is legitimately 12-13-teams deep with talent.

    I will say this: Golden State might not compete for another title in their current form (how long will Draymond stay? Will Klay be healthy next year?), but they have the legacy where it makes little sense to blow it up.

    Then there's San Antonio doing...who really knows what. They're a second round team at best with no clear direction in their future, no dominant, All-NBA talent and no big free agent signings. Sure, never bet against Popovich, but I don't think anyone legitimately believes they'll have enough talent to win a title. Kawhi royally screwed that franchise.

    In the end the question becomes would it be preferable to be going down the route of tanking for top talent -- while being BAD for 2-5 years -- but being rewarded with the chance of competing in a winnable window? If the goal is indeed a title team, then sadly it's probably the most logical move (Philadelphia pretty much proved that, even if they completely blew 3 of their first round picks during their epic tank job).

    This sure would be a lot more digestible had Houston controlled their FRPs.
     
    BallSoHarden likes this.
  4. juanming

    juanming Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2020
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    183
    It won't be 4 years or more IF we tank and get lucky to draft a stud in the top four (for arguments sake say Cade or green)

    THEN here's the most important and hard thing for fans to go through..we must tank again next yr for the 2022 draft... We have our pick in 2022 along with a couple others ..(mil/nets)

    So, let's pray kpj is a stud..we have wood, draft two more in 2021 and 2022 and that would be four great players along with Tate and Jones and kmartin

    I think if we get lucky and nail the next two drafts we will be done rebuilding
     
    sydmill likes this.
  5. jimmyv281

    jimmyv281 Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,128
    Likes Received:
    848
    They need to play the odds and win the percentage game for their right to keep a top 4 pick.
     
  6. Jontro

    Jontro Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Messages:
    28,701
    Likes Received:
    11,561
    stone be like

    [​IMG]
     
    TimDuncanDonaut likes this.
  7. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    18,219
    Likes Received:
    19,747
    Our rebuild shall be named Project Bruno

    4 years away from being 4 years away
     
    francis 4 prez and saleem like this.
  8. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    4,243
    Likes Received:
    5,659
    Well the Rockets got back in it after Sampson took a season off because of injury and we landed Olajawon and the Spurs did it after
    David Robinson took off a season due to injury and they took Tim Duncan.

    I'm expecting a quicker turnaround due to:
    Draft success: Wall (1pk in the 1st rd), Kevin Porter jr (30th pk in the 1st rd)
    Draft steal: Christian Wood (undrafted)

    I'm hoping for:
    C Wood to move to PF and bring us 27 points a night (& day)
    Kevin Porter jr average 24 points a game.
    Wall can probably get us 23 points a game. I expect him to be better next year after finding out his limitations and things to work on this season.

    Hopefully add Cade Cunningham or Jalen Green.

    Rockets will form the foundation in which players like Tate and Patton and Mason Jones can help compliment.
     
    kjayp and TimDuncanDonaut like this.
  9. sydmill

    sydmill Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Messages:
    1,184
    Likes Received:
    522
    Very insightful thread OP! Judging from the data you collected the situation does look pretty bleak. However, I dont think that is necessarily the case for the reasons below:

    1) Wood, Tate and KPJ: the Rockets already have 3 guys under contract who look like they are rotation players on a playoff team. Wood and KPJ look like they could, potentially, be the second and third best players on solid playoff squads while Tate seems like a solid glue guy. I see these players as making up 3/10 spots on a hypothetical playoff team. Did the other teams have that type of foundation on their team who had yet to peak when they first bottomed out?

    2) Jones, KMart, Brown, Nwaba and Patton: I think that at least 2 of these dudes end up being a member of the team moving forward. I am not a believer in KMart (size and skill deficits) or Jones (athleticism deficit) but think there is a place for two of Nwaba, Brown, or Patton. My guess is Brown and Patton but I wouldnt be surprised with Nwaba) So now the Rockets already have 5/10 rotation spots filled with guys 25 or below (though actually Brown just turned 26 a few weeks back). I do think that KMart and Jones could be solid end of the bench types who fill out the roster but I realize that opinion isnt widely held here.

    3) Oladipo, Tucker, Exum, and McLemore: all of these guys are on expiring deals and figure to be traded in the next few weeks. Hopefully the return is a young player or two to add to the rotation laid out above as well as more draft assets. Let's say the Rockets score 1 more player that fugures into their future by moving these veterans. Now they have filled 6/10 spots in a hypothetical future rotation.

    4) Draft: The Rockets have 2 first round picks in the 2021 draft and 3 in the 2022 draft (5 picks before we make any trades which will hopefully net us more). Both of these drafts appear at the moment to be stronger than usual. Lets say they add 3 rotation players with these picks either by trading some picks for players, moving up by packaging picks or just by selecting 3 guys out of 5 selections that do not bust (a 60% hit rate isnt unheard of. You figure they hit on their own top 4 pick this season and then their own top 10 pick next season so they'd really just need 1/3 of the rest of their picks to be a hit). Now 9/10 rotation spots are filled.

    5) Wall and Gordon: both of these guys are difficult to deal now but become increasingly easier over the next two seasons. One way (maybe the best way?) to land a franchise player is to pair some of our draft capital with a Wall or Gordon (+ young prospects) to land a disgruntled star. Otherwise the Rockets go big game hunting in free agency (which hopefully wont be an issue since much of the roster is on bargain contracts).

    There are a ton of assumptions and things would have to break just right but I dont think any of this is outlandish or unreasonable. The most important things for the here and now are making sure that they keep their pick and then developing KPJ and Wood. The good thing about the state of the Rockets is that their seasons for the foreseeable future aren't binary. For the past few years it has been finals or bust and, unfortunately, they busted each year. Now the focus is on progress and building a team that can compete with the Brooklyns, LALs and LACs. But by the time we are ready those teams will likely be on the scrap heap. We'll see, exciting times (unless you have to watch the games...).
     
    ilias likes this.
  10. csc177

    csc177 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,393
    Likes Received:
    1,490
    Agree with of this except for the Celtics reference, who nailed all of their draft picks. They drafted Tatum in 2017 and Jaylen Brown in 2016 and Smart in 2014
     
  11. thekad

    thekad Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    2,057
    Likes Received:
    1,037
    Fastest route to a turnaround is obtaining a star lead guard. Fortunately, there appear to be at least two in this draft. Unfortunately, the Rockets only have a 52% chance, currently, of being in a position to draft them.

    Keep losing and hope for the best. And hope that giving up the 5th pick in this draft doesn’t set the rebuild back 5 years.
     
  12. Nook

    Nook Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    41,505
    Likes Received:
    63,898
    This.

    History shows that it will be "maybe" as little of 4 years before we start to see a period where "we may make the playoffs next year".

    That is why the Rockets have to be open to moving everyone in the right deal, including Wood if the return is good.

    That is also why I advocate a complete gutting because the best possible situation for the Rockets is hitting on a couple of high level top lottery picks.

    Everyone complains about the Sixers.... they gutted their team. They missed on more lottery picks than they hit on, but those picks allowed them to either draft or trade for the team they have today and that is WITH Butler just walking away.

    Three years of bottoming out sounds bad.... until you look at the 7-8 years the Sixers had before they committed to a rebuild where they were bad, but not terrible.

    We don't want to be a team like the Magic or Pacers or Detroit.... teams that have been "meh" to bad, but never bad enough to get the very best lottery picks.

    While it will hurt if we lose out lottery pick this year, we get to keep the two after that and the top of the 2022 and 2023 drafts are pretty damn good.

    Fans need to just enjoy basketball and temper expectations. To be a really good team, the Rockets will need to "hit" on two high lottery picks....... and then there is the growth period where those players improve and climax in deep playoffs runs.
     
    #12 Nook, Mar 4, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  13. Nook

    Nook Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    41,505
    Likes Received:
    63,898
    Yes, if a team gets a true once a decade or more talent..... they can improve very quickly, but the odds of getting an Olajuwon, Jordan, Shaq, LeBron or Duncan are very low........... the one player that could potentially have that kind of impact is Chet Holmgren in 2022.........

    I will say if you are expecting Wood and Porter to be franchise players, you are expecting a lot out of them....... one of them is 25 years old, starting for the first time and is already hurt and the other one has been suspended from his high school team, suspended from his college team and suspended from his NBA team.... had to be removed by security and almost killed himself in a one car accident. I am all for optimism but there is a breaking point.

    It isn't likely, but if the Rockets did something like get Suggs/Cunningham or Kuminga this year and then next year get Holmgren or Hardy in 2022, we would be in an awesome position, but even then we wouldn't make the playoffs for a couple years after than..... the guys at the top of the 2021 draft are all teenagers and the same in 2022 draft. While Holmgren will contribute and has the unique skill set to be a true "best player in the league" type player, he will be 19 years old and only 210 lbs
     
  14. sydmill

    sydmill Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2002
    Messages:
    1,184
    Likes Received:
    522
    The way I see it is that there will be transition over the next few seasons. Right now, Wood is probably the Rockets best player. Over time I could see KPJ, if he keeps himself together, take that mantle as the best player on the team as Wood becomes second banana. Finally, maybe 2 or 3 years down the road, Kuminga or Cade then supplants KPJ. At that point you hope to rolling out Kuminga along with KPJ and Wood who are all still capable of winning their matchup most nights. You also have an abundance of other first round guys who will hopefully provide at least what we are seeing from Tate (and Tate himself). That is all, I think, perfectly reasonable to expect should the Rockets keep their pick this year. No guarantee and even if all of this goes down just the way I say it they may still struggle to make the playoffs. But at least there is hope there and the Rockets might be an enjoyable team to follow. I will follow regardless but would enjoy watching a young up and coming team then one mired in $hit.
     
    Nook likes this.
  15. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    4,243
    Likes Received:
    5,659
    Like it or not Harden left

    It's pick #22 and #33 at the moment while not tanking.

    Possibly top #4 pick (tanking), #22 and #33.

    Most players that are good were drafted at one time or another.

    Welcome to life in the NBA where guarantees are few and far between. Deal with it
     
  16. Nook

    Nook Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2008
    Messages:
    41,505
    Likes Received:
    63,898
    Deal with what?

    I expect a long rebuild.... I want a total gutting and rebuild in the draft.
     
    ApacheWarrior likes this.
  17. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    4,243
    Likes Received:
    5,659
    Oh yeah.....and I say no!!

    I have more faith in Kevin Porter jr / Wall / C Wood / Mason Jones than you.

    The first time I saw Kevin Porter jr was his rookie season, I believe around the 5th game vs Bulls, I said to myself that kid is going to be good.
    Wished we had him. Now we do. He is going to be good, better than what you see now. This was like being gifted a 1st round pick (top 10).

    Wall will get healthy.......has a 33%, ast% this season and 39%, ast% the last time he played over two yrs ago. Averaged 44%, ast% his last 7 yrs prior to this season. I've never been a John Wall fan, but anything in the 40% assist% is nothing to snicker about.

    Wood is ready for stardom.......just need to take away some of the pounding he will experience on a night to night basis at center. Nowadays SF's
    get moved to PF very often. Less blunt force trauma at PF.

    Don't look at me about the state of the Rockets franchise.....I'm the one saying kiss Hardens feet to make him happy. Once you get a top 5 talent
    you try everything legal to make him happy. Keys to the gym, city and pay for his escorts if we have too. We may never find another star; but I'm
    not going to sit here and cry in my beer endlessly. I see cornerstones in 3.5 of the players we have......throw in Tate and Eric Gordon giving us 12 points and 18 points respectfully.

    If you have on average, points, next season:
    Wood 27 points
    K Porter jr 24 points
    Wall 23 points
    Eric Gordon 18 points
    Tate 12 points
    _______________________
    That's 104 points on the average between those 5 players. Add a few more role players to pitch in 6 or 7 points each
    and you have the foundation and team worthy of getting right back in this; as an on the bubble team or up to 6th seed.

    I'm ok with first round exit from the playoffs with a team full of players under contract and some in our minor league system coming up the
    pipeline as rookies maturing. What I'm not ok with is the high probability of being swept in the 1st round with more than half the team on expiring contracts ready to leave the organization and little to no draft picks under Rocket organization contract control. Being left high and dry with no future help coming......
    even if it is entry level on the job training rookies, drafted or undrafted.

    But stay salty my friend. I like your postings.
     
    #17 ApacheWarrior, Mar 4, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
    kjayp, sydmill and Nook like this.
  18. Le$$

    Le$$ Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Messages:
    3,391
    Likes Received:
    2,664
    Yea there is alot of hope because people think Wood could be a leader. He is probably not that 1st option. Cade can be, but you even have to see if he can Pan out or he could just be a bust.

    There is no Guarantee on anything, even if the rockets get a few good players, still could be mediocre team that under achieves, like Jason Richardson Warriors team. So who knows its just a game, and atleast the rockets got to West Finals last decade twice, it was fun. This decade may be bad.
     
    TimDuncanDonaut likes this.
  19. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 1999
    Messages:
    56,005
    Likes Received:
    22,417
    Can be shortened with smart picks, trades and coaching

    Wood and Porter could have break out years next year
    Borderline All Stars
    Tate and Martin can rise up to be solid role players

    Rocket River
     
    kjayp likes this.
  20. DonatelloLimestone

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2021
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    153
    Year he draft is always a big question mark. There are so many factors and few and far between comes an obvious top pick thats a home run. Wiggins was considered close, hell so was Harrison Barnes at one point, so was RJ barret(who at 20, still looks hopeful). Cade has shown he’s an nba talent. He has poise, can get his shot off in tough situations including off balance, he is also a bit slow footed. He could come into the league as ROY and end up like tyrke evans too.

    The draft sells us hope, especially all those nets picks that are hopeful that some kid in middle school is working on his game when we’re finally ready. Then after his 7th year hopefully tillman starts spending right.

    A big part of our luck will obviously come with this years draft lottery, the next opening will be when Wall is an expiring contract and finally tradable. The OP believes wall can average 23, that was his best year in the nba’s average when he was 27. That said, he has been a surprise that he still looks athletic and I appreciate his spirit because it is no easy feat to come back from 2 years off. But we have som great role players possibly in Tate, KMJ. A solid playmaker possibly ginobili/Lou will like 6th man in KPJ who could has the talent to man the starting spot as well. Woods can be a great 2 options or who knows even better, but we have some promising pieces to build upon.

    The other issue we have is our reputation. The players in this league voted harden MVP the year over steph curry. He’s not very PR savvy, his moms his agents, so when the press dumps on him we don’t hear too much, but by all accounts the players respect him. The agent world for coaches and players is small, rockets will have some rebuilding in trust to do that they will trust tillman. Likewise, for some reason he decided to go public two years ago on MDA’s contract and publicly lied to the point where the agent had to clear it up. The issue isn’t pro or against MDA, its that these business practices will ot go unnoticed.

    We used to at least be a considered destination for 1A talent, now until we prove ourselves again under new ownership well attract people who want to prove themselves, want an opportunity, but not the best of the best. We’ll know a lot more come draft lottery time on if pass our first major hurdle to rebuild
     
    don grahamleone likes this.

Share This Page

  • About ClutchFans

    Since 1996, ClutchFans has been loud and proud covering the Houston Rockets, helping set an industry standard for team fan sites. The forums have been a home for Houston sports fans as well as basketball fanatics around the globe.

  • Support ClutchFans!

    If you find that ClutchFans is a valuable resource for you, please consider becoming a Supporting Member. Supporting Members can upload photos and attachments directly to their posts, customize their user title and more. Gold Supporters see zero ads!


    Upgrade Now