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Enjoy the Ride, the Rockets have the second pick

Jalen Green Evan Mobley Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets

Enjoy the Ride, the Rockets have the second pick

After a brutal season of basketball in Houston, NBA Draft Week is here — and for Rockets fans, there’s a lot to be thankful for

With the 2021 NBA Draft a mere three days away, the hyperbole surrounding a group of young men has intensified to a point of diminishing returns.

Evan Mobley? He’s a mixture of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant.

Jalen Green? Oh, that’s Kobe Bryant meets Michael Jordan.

Cade Cunningham? What you get if Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and LeBron James were mixed together in a lab.

In reality, every player in the upcoming draft has an equal chance to exceed or fail to meet whatever (realistic) expectations are put upon them. The system they are put in. The work they put in. The luck they have with health. These are factors that will determine whether or not they will one day be labeled the unfair moniker of “bust”. But keep in mind:

The Rockets have the second pick.

About a month ago, the Rockets had a greater chance of landing the 18th overall pick than they had of landing a top three pick. The risk the team took by trading away a franchise player in a season in which they did not control their own destiny in the upcoming draft was less than ideal. Whether or not they intended to be this bad (they did not) is a different discussion. Allowing Harden out despite his antics (shoutout to the trainers in Vegas and Atlanta) and essentially begging to be sent away was something that at the time seemed premature. Sending Harden out without getting an established young star in return in a year where the Rockets did not control their draft pick seemed even more premature. I’m happy to say the front office is less risk averse than myself and it worked out.

The Rockets have the second pick.

James Harden said it was crazy. He ended up in his preferred destination and the lack of talent surrounding him in Houston was exaggerated in the following months. It was a season plagued by a hometown hero who had been our guy telling us that we were no longer good enough for him. A season plagued with injuries and inconsistencies. A season plagued with, well… a plague. The City of Houston deserved to keep this pick, but often times, that doesn’t matter. We could be banking everything on the hope of a Ziaire Williams or Jalen Johnson sliding, but no.

The Rockets have the second pick.

In the end, Lady Luck favored the Rockets and they wound up with the number two pick in a draft where the top four players have consistently separated themselves from the pack (I personally see it as the top three but I’m also not consensus). The players most likely to be drafted at the number two slot on Thursday are the G-League Ignite’s Green or USC’s Mobley. Each player has formed quite the following online. The “Mobley Mob” has favored analytics and used their perception of being the intellectual choice as a sword. The “Green Gang” (I prefer Green Party) has favored intangibles, highlights and athleticism and has used previous big man “busts” (I really hate that term) as their weapon of choice. Each side has been aggressive in their pursuit but something that has slipped through the cracks: Despite how smart the Mobley Mob believes they are and how fast the Green Gang would run to welcome Jalen to Houston, neither have a say in the draft pick. The Rockets will choose who the Rockets believe is the better selection.

The Rockets have the second pick.

The period following the draft lottery has placed something into clear view; many fans of the Rockets believe they have the one right answer and that the team should and would listen to them (because who wouldn’t?). Some of these statements will be right in the end and some of these declarations will be wrong, but if I had to guess, none of them are going to factor into the decision-making process of who the team will eventually select at #2. We as fans should come together at this point and just sit back for the ride.

The Rockets have the second pick.

It’s not very often that the Rockets will have a selection this high. Only one player will be off the board if the Rockets stand firm at #2. The Rockets will have their selection of prospects who have worked tirelessly to get to this point in their lives. I wish they could all exceed expectations, but history and reality says that’s highly unlikely. Many drafted will be footnotes while others will be chapters and a select few will be full novels. Whether the Rockets take Jalen or Evan, the front office will make their selection based upon an educated guess stemming from an extreme amount of work, energy and effort put into a process and I’m completely thrilled to watch how everything unfolds. Mobley Mob and Green Gang, enjoy this week because come Thursday it’s all Red Nation.

The Rockets have the second pick!

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