The Rockets have made significant strides, yet uncertainties about what lies ahead continue to persist.

The Houston Rockets have a record of 15-13 this season, which is a significant improvement compared to last year. However, there are still lingering questions surrounding the team that may have uncomfortable answers.

However, let’s start with the positive aspects. There is certainly a significant amount of it.

Alperen Şengün, who had limited opportunities to showcase his abilities under Stephen Silas last season, has been entrusted with greater responsibilities. There is still much more to accomplish, in fact. The 21-year-old has developed into the role of not only the team’s top centre but also their most exceptional player.

Rockets: His impressive averages of 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists are notable, but they do not fully reflect the true extent of his impact.

Şengün is highly skilled and knowledgeable. His passing ability is truly remarkable, especially considering his size and position. What’s even more impressive is his ability to navigate the field and enhance the effectiveness of his passes.

Rockets, Şengün will adjust his position regularly to better connect with his passing targets. When Jabari Smith Jr has an opportunity to make a move towards the basket, Şengün skillfully adjusts his position, drawing his defender along with him. Rockets, Understanding Smith Jr’s positioning on the court, Şengün consistently locates his teammate for a high-quality shot, utilising swift and precise passes that force opposing defences to stay on their toes and make split-second decisions.

It’s unjust to label anyone as Baby Jokić solely because of Nikola Jokić’s dominance, but if there’s anyone who has truly earned such a nickname, it’s Şengün.

The Rockets are also impressed with the performance of their primary free agent signings, Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, who have seamlessly adapted to their roles.

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Rockets, VanVleet is fulfilling his responsibilities after signing a lucrative three-year contract this summer. He demonstrates exceptional shooting skills from beyond the arc, effectively orchestrates the team’s offence, and consistently poses a threat with his driving ability.

Regarding Brooks, he is currently experiencing the most productive year of his professional journey. In all honesty, his offence is no longer as necessary as it was in Memphis, as he has become more selective with his shot choices. Brooks, previously known for taking shots that resembled Kobe Bryant’s style, often disrupting the flow of the offence, has now shifted his focus to taking a significantly higher percentage of shots within ten feet of the basket compared to previous seasons. Additionally, he has found balance by attempting nearly 45% of his shots from long range.

Rockets Houston

There is definitely reason for enthusiasm if you are a fan of the Houston Rockets.

Nevertheless, it’s not all fun and games.

Over the past few years, the Rockets have consistently ended up among the top picks in the NBA draft. This has produced players like Smith Jr., Jalen Green, and Amen Thompson.

Let’s put Thompson aside for the moment, as the rookie has only played in 130 career minutes. It is premature to draw any significant conclusions about his NBA career at this stage.

Green and Smith Jr., on the other hand, have extensive knowledge about.

Considering the potential of both players, it is reasonable to question whether either of them is a suitable fit for a team that will undoubtedly revolve around Şengün.

Green, theoretically, should have made a strong fit given his athletic prowess and shooting upside. However, despite having spent nearly two-and-a-half seasons together, Green has not yet found a way to effectively collaborate with Şengün.

The 6’4 guard has consistently displayed impressive statistics, averaging 19.4 points per game throughout his career. Regrettably, Green has not displayed a high level of scoring efficiency, as he is currently shooting at a rate of only 39.4%, with a disappointing 31.9% from beyond the arc.

Green, despite his potential, has not yet demonstrated to the organisation that he can be a valuable player who knows when to take the right shot. After 171 career games, the 21-year-old still appears to believe that he can resolve his difficulties through shooting, despite the fact that shooting has been the root cause of those difficulties.

Regarding Smith Jr., we have yet to witness the emergence of a versatile modern forward who effortlessly transitions between positions and demonstrates impressive creative skills.

On the other hand, Smith Jr. has the appearance of a traditional stretch-four player. Now, that does hold significance, as shooting remains a crucial aspect of the NBA, and he even possesses defensive skills that are promising for that side of the court.

Nevertheless, his game follows a fairly predictable pattern. He has a remarkable assist rate on both his two-pointers and outside shots. Opposing defences are aware that he has not been able to effectively finish off passes this season, with 45 assists to 33 turnovers. Additionally, his ability to create opportunities on the ball is not currently seen as a strength.

Eason demonstrates exceptional energy and consistently delivers high productivity on a per-minute basis, surpassing his teammates. Although he has not yet demonstrated a crucial ability to propel him forward, he consistently finds himself in the midst of action, seizing offensive rebounds at crucial moments, skillfully blocking and stealing the ball at opportune times, and ultimately leaving opponents feeling frustrated to compete against him.

So, let’s discuss the plan in Houston, shall we?

Green is expected to become eligible for an extension by the end of this season, and his inconsistent performance is likely to complicate matters when it comes to his restricted free agency.

Considering the addition of VanVleet and Brooks to the team, who have different timelines than Şengün and the rest of the group, it raises the question of whether the Rockets are contemplating trading away players like Green, Smith Jr., or Eason for a seasoned veteran.

If so, is that the right play? VanVleet may not be the player to single-handedly turn around a franchise, and considering Şengün’s potential for a maximum extension, the Rockets may face limited salary cap flexibility in the near future.

It should be noted that Houston has had a successful year thus far. They are excelling in their basketball performances and achieving victories. However, their long-term future is still uncertain, and it would be advantageous for them to determine their direction sooner rather than later.

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