First off, a huge thank you to Xiane for covering while I visited with friends and family in San Antonio. Unfortunately, readers will now have to read my previews after getting a couple of Xiane’s bangers. It’s like living with Pepsi, getting to experience the wonderful world of Coke, and then having that ripped away after just a few days.
Tonight, the Houston Rockets take on the Toronto Raptors, who have traded Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby this season. It’s a direction chosen, perhaps a season too late, to reset the franchise following some disappoint seasons following their NBA Championship. RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley have been brought into the squad along with three first round picks. Toronto’s own first rounder this year is owed to San Antonio, but is top-6 protected, so it would be in Toronto’s best interests to lose out. They currently sit with the sixth-best odds of winning the lottery and would surely like to give themselves some insurance. However, “passing” Portland is going to be difficult, especially while holding off the Memphis Grizzlies. So Toronto needs losses like Mars needs Moms.
That explains why the Rockets are favored in this one, but the potential loss of Alperen Sengun to illness could swing that line a bit. Former Raptor Fred VanVleet will get a chance to lead his new team against his first team. And we’ll get to see if the Jalen Green Revolution is real or a mirage like it was at the end of his rookie campaign. Two weeks ago, the question about Green’s extension was an easy one: Houston could try to get him at a reduced cost this summer or just let the fourth season play out and use restricted free agency to gauge his value. But if this Green is the Green we see for the next three months, the extension question this summer becomes much more difficult. With Sengun almost assuredly commanding a max extension (5 years, ~$260 million), the question becomes “Is there enough money for another player to approach that sort of deal?” It’s going to be a fascinating three months.
One more note: as with Victor Oladipo, I will not be putting Steven Adams on the injury report because he is not expected to suit up at any point this season due to knee surgery. Listing him every time would just be an annoyance and his availability is not going to be in question until October of this year at the earliest. Thank you for understanding.
How to Watch
Space City Home Network
Alperen Sengun-GTD (illness)
Tari Eason-OUT (leg)
Jakob Poeltl-GTD (ankle)
Immanuel Quickley-GTD (quad)
RJ Barrett-GTD (knee)
Jontay Porter-doubtful (back)
The Line (as of this post)
Looking ahead because we can
Sunday night in Minnesota against the Timberwolves