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In a lengthy story at Bleacher Report grading the rookie classes for all 30 teams, Zach Buckley gave the Rockets an A for their 2022 rookie class. To no surprise, that’s one of the highest grades for any team, and it reflects strong scouting work by general manager Rafael Stone and his staff.
While Buckley notes Houston’s extreme overall quantity of rookies — they had four first-round draft picks (Green, Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba, and Josh Christopher) and later signed Daishen Nix and Trevelin Queen — it’s the quality that stood out the most. His analysis:
The quantity alone is impressive, but the quality is what should have Space City jazzed about the future.
Green took a while to get going — he was also a 19-year-old, No. 1 option for a bad offense — but once the light bulb clicked on, it had a brilliant shine. After the All-Star break, he posted centerpiece-caliber stats, including 22.1 points per game on 47.6/38.7/75.6 shooting (overall field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage, and free throws).
Sengun, meanwhile, impressed early and often with soft touch, activity on the glass and some of the most creative passing you’ll see from a center not named Nikola Jokic.
Those two are the headliners and the ones who most impacted the letter grade. But Christopher had moments as an athletic energizer with a powerful scoring punch, and Nix impressed with his playmaking (usually at the G League level, but still). Queen might not be a keeper, as he is already 25 years old, but Garuba absolutely could be; he just had his rookie season largely kept in check by injuries.
Buckley appears lowest on Queen, which is understandable, given age factors. And yet, Queen was still quite dynamic in the NBA G League, earning regular-season MVP and Finals MVP honors.
Though Houston finished 2021-22 with the league’s worst record, that fact may further bolster their long-term outlook — since they are now guaranteed another top-five draft pick to add to that young core.
The future is bright, even if the very recent past was not.