Reviewing the 2021-22 Houston Rockets

May 30th, 2022

by Alan Lu

The Houston Rockets had been expected to spend another year in rebuilding mode and sure enough, they indeed were the worst team in the NBA once again.  They haven’t won many games in the Stephen Silas era, as they have won just 37 games in the past two seasons.  On the plus side, rookie guard Jalen Green turned in a very good rookie season, and he especially played well in the second half of the year that helped land him a spot on the All-Rookie 1st team.

Key Players:

Jalen Green had a good rookie season for the Houston Rockets, and he especially thrived in the second half of the year.
(Photo:
Scott Wachter/USA Today Sports, via SB Nation’s The Dream Shake)

Jalen Green
2021-22 (HOU): 17.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.6 APG, 43 FG%, 34 3PT%, 80 FT%, 55 TS%, 12.5 PER, 0.7 WS

He is a very athletic combo guard that turned in a good rookie season, and he especially thrived in the second half of the year.  He was up and down with his shooting, but he started to play well late in the year, and he was able to have some really big shooting and scoring games.  He has a lot of promise, and he looks like he could be their franchise player in the future.

2022 Season Grade: B
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars (4 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets’ big man, Christian Wood (on the right) had a good season individually, but not everyone seems to be sold on the idea of him being on the team for the long haul.
(Photo:
Troy Taormina/USA Today Sports, via Sports Illustrated)

Christian Wood
2021-22 (HOU): 17.9 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.0 BPG, 50 FG%, 39 3PT%, 62 FT%, 59 TS%, 19.1 PER, 4.9 WS

He is an athletic big man that had another solid season for the Houston Rockets this year.  He and Porter had a run-in with Silas during the middle of one game, and it led him to getting suspended one game due to discipline and behavioral issues.  Still, he is a versatile player that can score in a variety of ways and defend, and he will likely be one of the best players on the Rockets once again next season.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars (3.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Houston Rockets

Dennis Schröder
2021-22 (BOS/HOU): 13.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.3 RPG, 43 FG%, 34 3PT%, 85 FT%, 54 TS%, 13 PER, 2.9 WS

He is an athletic, veteran point guard that played for Boston before later getting traded to Houston at midseason.  He didn’t shoot the ball nearly as well after the trade, but he’s been known to provide a scoring punch to teams he goes to in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on an NBA team
Side note: Schroder will be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) at the end of the 2021-22 NBA season.

Other Notable Players:

Alperen Şengün

He had a fairly good rookie season with the Rockets this year.  He didn’t quite shoot the ball as well from the outside, but he showed promise as a playmaker and defender.  His inside scoring and ability to make plays on the interior could enable him to be a solid player in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: C+
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars (3 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Houston Rockets

Kevin Porter Jr.

He had a fairly good season individually for the Rockets this past year.  He is an agile, scoring guard that showed a much improved three-point shot, and he can score and pass the basketball.  However, much of his old behavioral and discipline problems showed up when he left during one game at half time that led to his suspension.  He will need to improve his shot selection, defense, and behavior in order to take the next step in his overall game.

2022 Season Grade: C
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Starter on the Houston Rockets

Kenyon Martin Jr.

He is an athletic combo forward that had a solid season with the Rockets.  He played well of the bench for them, and he is a versatile player that will likely be a solid role player for them next season.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars (2.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Houston Rockets

Jae’Sean Tate

He had a decent season for them this past year.  He still hasn’t improved his three-point shot, but he excelled as an inside scorer and playmaker when he was on the court.  His defensive production went down, but Tate was able to log a substantial amount of minutes for Houston.

2022 Season Grade: C
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Houston Rockets

Eric Gordon

Gordon played fairly well this year in a starting role for Houston.  He played the most amount of games in a season that he’s played in the past three seasons.  He shot the ball very well.  Although he struggled a bit defensively, Gordon thrived as a sharpshooter on the court.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Houston Rockets

John Wall

He is a very athletic point guard that didn’t play at all during the 2021-22 NBA season.

2022 Season Grade: N/A
Projected 2023 Rating: 2 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on an NBA team.

Josh Christopher

He is an athletic, slashing combo guard that received ample playing time with the Houston Rockets during his rookie season.  He showed off fairly solid playmaking and rebounding skills, but he will need to improve his outside shot and defense in the meantime.

2022 Season Grade: B-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2.5 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Rotation player on the Houston Rockets

Other Players on the Roster:

Usman Garuba

He is an athletic, energetic big man that struggled to make an impact in the NBA this year, and he didn’t put up amazing numbers in the G-League, either.

2022 Season Grade: D-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Houston Rockets

Daishen Nix

He played very well in the G-League this year, and he was able to get some minutes this year with the Rockets.

2022 Season Grade: B
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on the Houston Rockets

Bruno Fernando

He is an athletic, energetic big man that played well in limited minutes this year in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: B
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team

Trevelin Queen (Two-Way Player)

He played very well in the G-League this year, and he was able to get some minutes this year with the Rockets.

2022 Season Grade: A-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team

Garrison Mathews

He is a shooting specialist that received regular rotation minutes with Houston this year, but his shooting percentages have steadily dropped as he’s received more playing time in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team

David Nwaba

He’s been an athletic, energetic swingman that has played well in limited minutes in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: C+
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team

Anthony Lamb (Two-Way Player)

He played well enough in the G-League this year to get some minutes this year with the Rockets.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars
Projected 2023 Role: Fringe rotation player on an NBA team

Head Coach:
Stephen Silas
2021-22 (HOU): 20-62, 15th in the Western Conference

He hasn’t won many games over the years, and he went just 2-6 when coaching James Harden before they dealt him to Brooklyn.  On the other hand, he’s shown promise as a developmental coach, and Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green have played fairly well under his watch.  His team will eventually need to start winning games, but it’s encouraging that the young players on his team are developing in the NBA.

2022 Season Grade: C-
Projected 2023 Rating: 1.5 stars (2 stars potential)
Projected 2023 Role: Head Coach of the Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets’ Projected 2022-23 Rotation:

C Christian Wood
3rd Overall Pick
F Jae’Sean Tate
G Kevin Porter Jr.
G Jalen Green
________
C Alperen Sengun
F Kenyon Martin Jr.
G Eric Gordon
17th Overall Pick
G Josh Christopher

The Houston Rockets’ Picks in the 2022 NBA Draft:
#3, #17

The Houston Rockets’ Projected 2023 Win-Loss Record:
22-60, 15th in the Western Conference

Their Projected Offseason Plan:

They sat John Wall for an entire season, and they were unable to move his massive contract while they did so.  In the meantime, they are capped out until they are able to rid themselves of John Wall’s contract, so they won’t be able to add impact free agents in the offseason. 

For the time being, if the Rockets don’t make any major impactful moves via trades, and if every team makes smart, rational moves, then the Rockets would likely still be one of the worst teams in the NBA next season. The Houston Rockets do have two picks in the top 20, which includes a top 3 pick, so they will need to focus on getting good players in the draft that fit their team.  They really struggled on both sides of the ball, but they definitely could use a player that fits well around Jalen Green.

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