Your first thought might be that some of these picks are too ambitious…but you have to understand that the Rockets are here to shoot for the moon!
I also want you to keep in mind that the media tends to penalize players for not playing on winning teams and considering this team will likely end up under .500 once again, it’s possible that bias is playing a role. Nevertheless, let’s go.
I regret to inform you that no one on the Houston Rockets will be a regular season or NBA Finals MVP this season. Maybe if you want to discuss the Rising Stars Challenge MVP, then now we speak.
Defensive Player of the Year
Sorry, this is also prohibited. Give him a few years and we could see Jabari Smith Jr. or Tari Eason making their case as the kingpin of one of the top five defenses in the league.
Sixth Man of the Year
We have come to the part of this blog that really has potential. We already have a candidate who has won in the past in Eric Gordon. If circumstances keep him around and he comes off the bench this year for whatever reason, who says he doesn’t light it up to the point where it’s clear he deserves the award again?
I can also have a hyperbolic grip in three… two… one…
I think Josh Christopher could become a future recipient of this trophy if all goes well. We’re a long way from that becoming a possibility, but I think the fact that he’s learning from one of the best makes him a dynamic prospect to watch.
Rookie of the Year
Among rookies, Smith has the best chance of getting it. Do I like his chances against the pitch? Not in particular. This award is usually given to leading ball handlers and/or players who have achieved high numbers of goals. Because of Smith’s role on this team, I don’t see him as the guy who will see the ball enough to wow voters. The best-case scenario for Smith would be for him to have the type of impact Evan Mobley had last year while avoiding the injury bug that allowed Scottie Barnes to pass Mobley in the race.
As for the other recruits, it’s even more improbable, but I’ve already been wrong.
Most Improved Player
Okay, that’s the prize I think several Rockets players have a legitimate chance of winning. However, I strongly disagree with one of the options. I think Kevin Porter Jr. has a shot at winning this award if he makes a big enough stat jump while also showing control on offense. It would make sense and be in the same vein as when Aaron Brooks, CJ McCollum or Goran Dragic have won in the past.
The selection that would blow my mind is if Jalen Green followed in the footsteps of last year’s winner Ja Morant. I’m about to go off on a tangent so please excuse me.
I don’t understand how the second overall pick that has improved every year fits the profile of this award. Even Morant thought the same way, as he presented the award to teammate, Desmond Bane.
Why do voters reward guys who came up hoping to be awesome with this award? Sure, I’d love for Green to bring home some gear, but it’s silly that that’s what it’s being considered for.
It’s not just a high draft pick issue for me, because I figured it out when former second overall pick Brandon Ingram won it a few years ago. Ingram arrived with high expectations, but his game stalled on the Los Angeles Lakers and real questions arose about whether he would ever reach his potential. A change of scenery finally allowed Ingram to tap into that potential and, in my opinion, that makes him a more compelling case rather than someone who was closer to being an MVP contender in his third season than “the more improved”.
Coach of the year
It would be a tough prize for Stephen Silas to win given that the prize usually goes to the team with the best record. However, in the unlikely scenario that this team fights its way into the playoffs, the only way that will happen is if Silas is a master motivator/strategist.
JB Bickerstaff of the Cleveland Cavaliers finished in fifth place last year as he led his team into the qualifying tournament. I’m not sure many predicted the Cavs team would be as good as they were, and if Bickerstaff’s roster hadn’t suffered an insurmountable amount of injuries, it’s reasonable to assume that they would have had a better record than 44-38 (improved from 22 -50 in 2020-21). This would be Silas’ way of making noise for COTY.
Executive of the Year
As with other awards, victory plays the most important role in bringing this trophy home. Rafael Stone’s only leverage is really based on how good his draft class is. Players entering the Christian Wood deal will play a very limited role if they make the squad, so unless there are other moves up his sleeve it doesn’t seem like much. which will be in its trophy case… this year at least.
All-NBA and All-Defensive Team Honors
NOPE. You must either be considered one of the top 15 players or top 10 defensemen in the entire league for the season. As I have already pointed out above, we are a few years away from that.
All Rookie Teams
I think Jabari Smith makes it into a first-team All-Rookie as long as he plays by his standards (and as long as Herb Jones doesn’t have a younger brother that I’m not aware of). Eason and TyTy Washington also have the option of making one of the two teams, but of course that depends on playing time and impact.
List of stars
Like All-NBA, All-Star teams are named for the best of the best. It’s easier to make the All-Star list though because it’s based only on the first half of the season and I think the coaches and the media are more lenient in winning compared to All-NBA. The West is stacked and with the return of stars such as Kawhi Leonard, Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis and more, it will be that much harder to get a Rocket on the team. I see a way though.
Green and KPJ are the names most likely to be considered, but I’m also optimistic about Alperen Şengün’s chances. Yes, there are a considerable number of names in the mix this year, but injuries still play a part in final all-star rosters as there are usually multiple replacement picks. Andrew Wiggins started last year so anything is possible.
If one of these guys gets off to a strong start and garners a strong fan vote, it could greatly influence other voters.
Star Weekend Festivities
Jalen Green after the NBA Slam Dunk Contest: “Yeah, of course I need a run back because I screwed up. So I have to do it again next year. We’ll find out though… I’ll be good next year. #Rockets pic.twitter.com/wVR6x7GPOV
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) February 20, 2022
Maybe Jalen has a chance to redeem himself in the Dunk Contest? Maybe KPJ straddles his best spot in the league by shooting a three-point contest invite? Can Şengün become the next big winner of the Skills Challenge? Plug into knowledge.
Most Likely Not To Appear In John Wick: Chapter 4
Can I put money on this accessory?