The 2022-2023 NBA season kicks off in the less than a week. Houston Rockets Media Day is September 26, with the start of training camp following the next day, As such, we’re kicking off our annual series where we preview every player on the official roster heading into camp.
We start from the back and work our way up, so our first part will be on three players who aren’t likely to make to the regular season in a Rockets uniform. All three of these guys came over to Houston from the Dallas Mavericks in the Christian Wood trade earlier this summer. Two of them are in Houston for a second time.
Brown played for the Rockets in 2020-2021 and was actually a pretty dang good three-point shooter that season, finishing at 42.3 percent on 4.2 attempts per game, and he also averaged 8.8 points per game, mostly off the bench, in 24.1 minutes per night. But those numbers fell off of a cliff last year in Dallas, slipping to just 3.3 points per game and 30.4 percent from deep. Brown is just 27 and might have a little left in the tank to help a team as a three-point shooter, but there’s just no court time for him in H-town. Brown’s $3 million is guaranteed and expiring, so there’s a slight chance there’s a trade out there for salary cap purposes, but don’t expect to see him on the floor with the Rockets this year.
The 25-year-old Chriss played for the Rockets in 2018-2019 and was pretty bad. Once thought to have oodles of potential, Chriss has struggled with immaturity and just hasn’t been able to take the next step. He looked like he might break through with the Golden State Warriors after a good season in 2019-2020 where he averaged 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game, but he wasn’t able to parlay that into any lasting succes. With the Rockets struggling to find minutes with some of the forwards they already have on the roster (KJ Martin), Chriss isn’t long for the squad.
Out of all of these, Burke may be the one with the biggest chance to stick around, simply because of Houston’s lack of options at the backup point gurad spot. With just the inexperienced Daishen Nix and TyTy Washington currently the team’s only two options behind starter Kevin Porter Jr., the 29-year-old Burke could be a veteran option charged with running the second team. He hasn’t looked great in Dallas the last two seasons after starting off well there in 2019-2020, but maybe he has a little juice left until one of Houston’s young backups are ready.
All three of these guys have guaranteed deals, with Burke at $3.4 million, Brown at $3 million and Chriss at $2.1 million, but they’re also all expiring, so even if Houston is forced to cut them and eat the money, it will clear by next season when Houston’s cap space really opens up. They’ll be less concerned with the $8.5 million in space this season if they’re forced to cut these guys and more concerned with getting the right roster mix and opportunity for their young players.