Houston Rockets
Micheal Wyke/AP

The Houston rockets could not have imagined the worst scenario heading into this NBA season losing their franchise star James Harden and All-Star Russell Westbrook. They did not receive a great return for either player which led to some calls for the firing of GM Rafael Stone which was understandable. The team was trending in the completely wrong direction which is not the norm for the Houston Rockets. As they are one of the NBA’s most stable organizations with the last time they had a season under .500 being the 2005-2006 season. But now in the 2020-2021 season, this team has been anything but stable filled with early season drama & A losing streak which completely damaged this team’s morale.

It’s pretty obvious that the Rockets have a long road ahead of them if they wish to return to winning basketball games at a regular rate and even longer if they wish to return to being a contender. However, they are lucky to have two young studs in Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr. on the roster who both have the potential to make the future bright if they are able to stay together.

Christian Wood Know’s that he and KPJ can do great things in this league together. In a postgame interview, he spoke about what the two could accomplish together stating “Me and him can be trouble down the line. We have to stay together, which we for sure will, and work together”. Both Player’s path to the Houston Rockets did not come easy but now that they are together this season has only shown a sneak peek of what the Dynamic duo in Houston can accomplish.

Kevin Porter Jr. Keeps Getting Better

Porter Jr. was always seen as a very talented player but had character issues which caused his draft stock to plummet. The Cavaliers took a chance selecting him with the 30th pick in the 2019 NBA draft. In his second season, a locker room incident forced the Cavaliers to severe ties with the troubled guard and while his value was at an all-time low the Houston Rockets took a chance and traded a 2nd round pick for him. And so far 25 games into his career with the Rocket’s, Porter Jr. has shown why he was once touted as a lottery prospect and it’s clear that this acquisition was a steal.

He was immediately the most intriguing player on the Rockets because of his star potential and has backed that up averaging 16.6 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 3.9 RPG. Porter Jr. playing this well has really eased the burden of the botched Harden trade for Rafael Stone. Only giving up a 2nd round pick for a 21-year-old who has showcased the ability to create for himself and others at an elite level was a no-brainer move. Over KPJ’s last five games he has even taken it up a notch averaging 22.5 points and 7 assists while shooting 37% from three on almost nine attempts per game.

During this five-game stretch, he also had a game where he scored 50 points and 11 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the best defensive teams in the league. It’s clear KPJ is special and he has already earned praise from top stars in the league like Stephen curry. The sky is the limit for Kevin Porter Jr. and as he continues to ascend toward’s stardom the Rockets should trend in the right direction especially if Christian Wood rises with him.

Christian Wood Is Finally Getting Some Continuity

Continuity like this has been hard to come by in Christian Wood’s career as he has already been a part of 5 other teams besides the Rockets in only four seasons. He regularly bounced around from team to team never getting the chance to showcase his skills until a late-season opportunity in Detriot last season. During that end-of-season stretch where the Pistons ran their offense through Wood, he averaged 22.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.1 APG, and shot 41% from three.

It was clear that the undrafted center out of UNLV had the potential to be a starter or maybe even more in this league. But the Pistons did not decide to retain Wood, instead, he inked a 3-year, $41 million dollar deal to become one of the centerpieces in Houston. But Wood still believed that he had more to offer and that he could reach star status with the Rockets by the end of this contract.

Wood has done well navigating the constant changes with the Rocket’s this season losing teammates like James Harden, John Wall, and Demarcus Cousin whose time’s were all cut short with the Rockets for varying reasons. He may have dealt with some injuries that had him sidelined during the middle of the season but since his return post All-Star Break wood has cemented himself as one of the best young big-men in the game. He has averaged 20.3 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.0 APG while making almost two threes a game and building some chemistry with KPJ. The Rocket’s have a lot of work ahead of them but as long as Wood and KPJ are able to stay together this rebuilding period may not be as long as many have thought.