While many feel Houston will be an afterthought next season, the Rockets’ opposition will consider something else. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Monty Williams believes Houston is one of several teams in the West that share the same hunger as the Phoenix Suns. Williams told The Athletic that he is “watching all the additions that they’ve [Houston] made.” In addition to the Rockets, Williams also mentioned the Sacramento Kings.
The Rockets are nowhere near on the cusp of an NBA Finals birth, but Williams’ comments are a testament that GM Rafael Stone is on the verge of building something special for the future.
Although it came at a price of ending the previous year with the league’s worst record at 17-55, Stone added arguably the most talented prospect in Jalen Green to a team that featured a rising star in Kevin Porter Jr. and borderline all-star in Christian Wood. With Green, Porter and Wood, the Rockets have the origin of a trio that can make them contenders in the Western Conference in the next two to three years. But what about the present?
If everyone stays healthy and the rookies adjust to the speed and physicality of the NBA promptly, the Rockets’ ceiling could be the play-in tournament. But despite the talent Rafael Stone has added, the general public believes Houston will be back in the running for the top draft pick by the conclusion of the 2021-22 NBA campaign.
The possibility of the Rockets finishing the upcoming season with the league’s worst record is nearly impracticable. In addition to having a core of young talented players, the Rockets will still rely on the play of John Wall and Eric Gordon — two veteran players who will refuse to create a losing culture inside the locker room.
On the surface, it is easy to understand how Williams can see similarities between the Suns and the Rockets.
Like the Suns, no one will view the Rockets as a potential threat. They will be an underdog nearly every night they take the court. But with their expertise, coaching, and personality, Houston could very well be a place that creates significant disruption in the NBA world next season — similar to Phoenix in 2021.