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Rockets lose part 1 of “Trade Me Showcase” 126-114

Part 2 is Sunday

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Marvin Bagley3 was famously chosen ahead of Luka Doncic in the 2018 NBA draft. He’s spent most of his time since either injured, glued to the bench by NBA Legacy Kid Luke Walton, or complaining himself, or by proxy, about his minutes. He was chosen #2 overall, with a very solid set of skills and physical ability and height, but hasn’t really gotten much of a chance to prove himself. He seems quite bitter about this alleged ill-treatment.

He may have a point. Congratulations Marvin Bagley Tres, you are the Rando! 26pts, 13rbs, 1ast and 2blk is definitely well above your career line of 8pts, 7rbs. Maybe Bagley isn’t bad, or maybe the Rockets don’t really have a center who can stop him.

Christian Wood does some things well, but protect the rim isn’t one of them. Daniel Theis is better on defense, but though he plays center, he’s not as tall as you might think. Alperen Sengun is probably the Rockets best defensive center (when not being whistled for clean blocks) but as he was returning after a lengthy absence for an ankle injury, his minutes were limited.

This was of great benefit to the Kings, as there’s not another real him protector on the team. KJ Martin Jr will try, but he and Tate are more small forward size guys playing as bigs.

Which meant that this game was effectively a lay up or pass and kick drill for the Kings, who shot 50% overall, and 38% from three.

The Rockets at one point lead by as many as a dozen, but after Christian Wood, who started brightly, went out late in the first quarter with three fouls, the team seemed to deflate somewhat.

Once again the Rockets are plagued mostly by being young and making poor decisions. At critical points, either trying to hold a lead, or climb back in the game after an effort to close a game, they hamstring themselves with one poor decision, one ill-advised play after another. This isn’t because they’re terrible, it’s because they’re mostly young and trying to be the hero, to be the guy who leads the charge. This often leads to possessions where an easy pass, or an open man are missed as Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr, Josh Christopher or KJ Martin Jr. try to do too much. Sengun, too, can be guilty of this, but in 14 minutes, didn’t have much of a chance to do so tonight.

They’re making the game harder than it needs to be, and they’re beating themselves fairly often. This is part of the learning process, but it can be frustrating.

Eric Gordon had another splendidly efficient night, he went 6-9. Green and Porter took 34 shots, and made 12. A more mature team feeds Eric Gordon until the opponent stops him. I have a feeling Sacramento couldn’t have done that.

Nor could Bagley, who played well on defense, have stopped a series of tricky Alperen Sengun post plays. The one time we saw it, Bagley was bamboozled. Next time down? DJ Augustin dribbled a lot and took a turnover.

There were a number of players on display for trades tonight, and all did well. The aforementioned Rockets Rando Nemesis Bagley, Eric Gordon, Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes all looked great. Between them they shot 28-51. All these players have been prominently mentioned in trade rumors, and all looked good tonight in a game where just a little bit of defense at the right time sealed the deal for the Kings.

Poll

First to be traded:

  • 67%
    Eric Gordon
    (144 votes)
  • 4%
    Marvin Bagley iii
    (10 votes)
  • 8%
    Buddy Hield
    (19 votes)
  • 3%
    Harrison Barnes
    (7 votes)
  • 10%
    John Wall. Sure, why not.
    (23 votes)
  • 5%
    None of the above will be traded.
    (11 votes)
214 votes total Vote Now