Commerce Donovan Mitchell lays out a blueprint for the future of the Houston Rockets

Through a panel of 15 coaches, scouts, and NBA executives, ESPN conducted an off-season survey From various topics including the question of who would be the best rookie in his career from this year’s draft category. Paulo Banchero And the Chet Holmgren got 6 votes Jaden Ivey each received two votes, and Keegan Murray received one. It was a surprise to many Rockets rookie Jabbari Smith Jr. You didn’t even get a single vote. This, despite the fact that Smith was generally expected to go first by most experts even just hours before the draft.

To be honest, I didn’t find the “disdain” too surprising. While I wish it was most of the year Smith will fall at the Rockets– and I’m glad he did – I kept believing he had the lowest ceiling among the first three possibilities in the draft (the other two being Paolo and Chet). I thought Chet, the real unicorn, had the highest potential while Jabari had the highest deck.

What I mean by “upstairs” is that Smith is so good defensively, aims to be a good shooter (as he was in college), and has so high a drive, that there really isn’t a scenario in which he hasn’t become, at least, a role player. Elite in the NBA. Meanwhile, Holmgren and Panchero have other gifts that increase the likelihood that either of them will become top 10 players. In Holmgren’s case, it’s shooting ability, ball handling and paint protection; For Banchero, it is the vision of the court, the creation of the shot, and the fluidity of its scale.

I wonder if the poll results would have been different if Smith had shot better overall from long distances during the summer league. Described as a deadly draft hitman (42 percent in 5.5 attempts from long range in Auburn), Smith shot only 37.7 percent Overall from the field in the summer league and only 25.9 per cent behind the arc. Perhaps those early returns have dampened expectations?

Houston Rockets’ Jabari Smith leads the field against the Orlando Magic during the second half of an NBA summer basketball game on Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)John Loescher/The Associated Press

future blueprint

The massive trade caused shock waves across the NBA last week, as the Utah Jazz finally traded Cornerstone Franchise Donovan Mitchell To, in what came as a complete shock to observers, the Cleveland Cavaliers did a package that revolved primarily around their recruiting choices. For weeks, it was believed that the New York Knicks were the leaders in the trade for the acquisition of Mitchell and that the only delay was the final compensation for the jazz.

While the cost was exorbitant (first-round picks in 2025, 2027 and 2029 and pick-ups in 2026 and 2028, among others) I absolutely loved the trade for the Cavaliers who, after acquiring Mitchell, now have a young quartet featuring Mitchell, the All-Star Darius Garland and Garrett Allen, and rookie sophomore sensation Evan Mobley. It’s a bold move by Cavaliers management that signals confidence in the core of the young team and an acute understanding that the opportunity in the NBA today is fleeting.

Many have argued that bringing two young guards like Mitchell and Garland side by side is foolish. On the contrary, I think a reluctance to take on Mitchell on the basis of these concerns would have been overly conservative and lacking in appreciation for the odd defensive presence of the Mobley/Allen pairing. Put simply, it would be wasteful to be unconventional with this kind of defense in front of the court.

I can’t wait for the day the Rockets cash their cash in their war chest from the recruiting picks they got from the Brooklyn Nets versus James Harden two seasons ago. The hope is that, like the Cleveland, the Rockets can add the “final piece” in a season on top of a heartland featuring Jalen Green, Smith and Alperen Sengun and pick the team in the first round of 2023 (whatever that is).

While the Rockets may have had the assets to take over Mitchell themselves, such a trade would not have fit the team’s current schedule. As a result of the Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade as of 2019, the 2023 draft is the last for the foreseeable future in which Houston will control its selection. Acquiring the first talent prematurely will deplete the value of that selection, hampering the team’s long-term cap. The time for the rockets will come.

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: Former Houston Rockets, Elvin Hayes, left, and the court side of Hakim Aliwan at the Toyota Center on November 22, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levy/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TX – NOVEMBER 22: Former Houston Rockets, Elvin Hayes, left, and the court side of Hakim Aliwan at the Toyota Center on November 22, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levy/Getty Images)

Bob Levy / Getty Images

honor legend

The Rockets announced last week that they will be retiring with the club’s jersey Elvin Hayes Hall of Fame Center. The party will take place during the first half of the Rockets’ game against Indiana on Friday, November 18. The team also announced that it will debut the San Diego Hardwood Classic green jersey made famous by Hayes and former Rockets star Calvin Murphy.

In the team’s official press release regarding the announcement, Rockets owner J. Fertitta Tilman stated, “Elvin was the original basketball star in Houston and has a lasting legacy with not only the NBA and the Rockets, but the University of Houston like Well. We are excited to honor Elvin and his family this coming November.” And seeing his shirt hanging where he belongs, along with other legends from the history of the franchise floors.”

Hayes was selected with the first overall pick by the San Diego Rockets in the 1968 NBA Draft. He averaged 28.4 points per game during the junior season; To this day, he remains the last rookie to lead the league in scoring.