Which players on the Rockets roster will be a part of their regular rotation, and what will their roles be?
PG Kevin Porter
SG Jalen Green
SF Eric Gordon
PF Jabari Smith, Jr.
C Alperen Sengun
DEEP BENCH – VETERANS
DEEP BENCH – DEVELOPING YOUTH
LIKELY TO BE WAIVED
The Rockets’ roster is stacked with promising young players who will be fighting for minutes. The starting backcourt of Jalen Green and Kevin Porter is set for now, but the frontcourt is a bit of a mystery. Jabari Smith Jr. was drafted with the 3rd pick and is expected to be one of the franchise cornerstones along with Green. The team could go in a variety of directions with the other two spots.
Alperen Sengun was impressive as a rookie and is likely to open the season as the starting center. The team has few options at the position; Boban Marjanovic might not even make the team and Bruno Ferrnando has never been a regular rotation player. The team could go small with either KJ Martin or Usman Garuba but that’s not likely, at least not to start.
Jae’Sean Tate and Eric Gordon made 77 and 46 starts respectively last year, but it may make sense for them to cede their spot to the youngsters who were recently drafted. Tari Eason has looked phenomenal in every exhibition since being drafted. Based on his skill set and style of play, he’d be an excellent complement to Green and Smith. Second year players Josh Christopher and Dashien Nix haven’t come out of the box as strong as Eason, but they’ve shown flashes and will certainly continue to get opportunities.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
There are several veterans on the roster who aren’t really part of the team’s future. How many minutes they get will depend on how inconsistent the young players are. Garrison Mathews, Derrick Favors, and Mo Harkless can all still be effective in spot duty if needed. But if the young players step up, these veterans could find themselves on the trading block along with Gordon as the deadline approaches.
There are few actual point guards on the roster. Even starter Kevin Porter isn’t a true point guard. Rookie TyTy Washington is only 21 but the team may end up needing him on the floor. Porter has been productive and even spectacular at times, but he’s also been notoriously unreliable. If his behavior issues suddenly flare up again, Washington could be pressed into more regular duty. There doesn’t seem to be enough space on the roster for the team to keep recently acquired veteran Ty Jerome. Mathews can play point in a pinch but if something does go awry with Porter the team won’t have much to lose by playing Washington at that point; he could get some game experience and see how well he meshes with Green in extended minutes.