This article is part of our NBA Team Previews series.
2022-23 Houston Rockets Team Preview
Houston continued its rebuild over the summer, waiving John Wall and trading Christian Wood and letting Dennis Schroder walk. The most meaningful additions to the roster are the three incoming rookies, Jabari Smith (No. 3), Tari Eason (No. 17) and TyTy Washington (No. 29).
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2021-22 Record: 20-62; last in Western Conference
2022-23 NBA Win Total Odds: 23.5 wins (DraftKings)
2022-23 NBA Title Odds: +100000 (DraftKings)
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Check out our 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball Projections, customizable for your league settings.
Houston Rockets Fantasy Basketball Preview
The rebuilding Rockets selected Sengun with the 16th pick in the 2021 draft, slotting him into their frontcourt that also contained Christian Wood. Wood's presence certainly impacted Sengun during his rookie season, limiting him to 21 minutes per game. Despite relatively limited run, he still averaged 9.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.9 blocks and 0.4 three-pointers per game. Across the six games he logged at least 30 minutes, he provided 14.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.0 blocks. With plenty of potential in Sengun, and the team going nowhere fast, the Rockets dealt Wood to the Mavericks this offseason, which should open up the starting center job for Sengun. A young, exciting core is starting to take shape between Sengun, Jalen Green and Jabari Smith. With Sengun likely to play around 30 minutes per game in his new role, he can provide enough production across the board to be extremely valuable. He'll likely be a trendy pick to have a breakout season, so he could be long gone by the time the middle rounds roll around.
Green closed out the 2021-22 campaign on a hot streak, averaging 28.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 36.8 minutes per contest during his final nine games. While it's unlikely he will match that output, his line of 22.1 points, 3.8 boards and 4.2 assists per contest after the All-Star break seems like an attainable goal. The uber-athletic second-year talent should be given every opportunity to thrive on a rebuilding Rockets team full of youth. While Houston returns most of its roster from last season, it's a fairly youth-laden roster. Green should pair with Kevin Porter in the backcourt again. An uptick in Green's scoring column could make him a bit more intriguing from a fantasy standpoint. He should also supply a substantial volume of makes from beyond the arc, averaging 3.1 makes per contest in the second half. Green also limited his turnovers down the stretch (1.6 per game after the All-Star break), so he could feature more utility in leagues that include the category. Unless Green advances in other statistical areas, his fantasy value will likely remain somewhat limited, leaving him in mid-to-late-round territories depending on the draft format.
While the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft drew mixed reviews in Summer League, he will almost certainly open the year as Houston's starting power forward next to Alperen Sengun. In terms of his basketball situation, Smith should be in a great position to see a ton of minutes as a rookie. Houston moving on from Christian Wood clears the way for a Sengun-Smith frontcourt of the future, and there is not much depth beyond that pairing. However, Smith could begin the year as the No. 4 option behind Jalen Green, Kevin Porter and even Sengun. Smith is not an inherently ball-dominant player, so where he settles in that pecking order will be with monitoring very closely early in the season. Ultimately, he's a rookie with a relatively high floor but also a relatively low ceiling.
Porter advertised some intriguing upside during his 26-game 2020-21 sophomore season with the Rockets, where he notably produced a 50-point, 11-assist game against the Bucks. Last year, Porter didn't quite reach the heights that optimists were hoping for, but he still cracked the top 100 in per-game fantasy production (rank 96). Sharing the backcourt with No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green, Porter struggled early on. For the first three months of the season (21 appearances), he averaged 13.0 points on abysmal 36/32/63 shooting splits. However, the sophomore guard picked things up after the new year. In his final 40 appearances, he averaged 16.9 points on 44/40/65 shooting, 6.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 31.6 minutes. The 22-year-old should continue developing this season, but he'll need to keep sharing the ball with Green as well as No. 3 overall pick Jabari Smith and new starting center Alperen Sengun - an excellent passer for the position. Porter's usage may not increase, so interested fantasy managers will have to bank on improved efficiency when projecting his 2022-23 campaign. As it stands, he's a mid-to-late-round flier.
Tate's second season with Houston wasn't vastly different from his first. He started 77 of his 78 appearances and played a complementary role to the more talented young core. In 26.4 minutes per game, the forward averaged 11.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Though Tate isn't a magnificent three-point shooter (0.8 makes per game on 31.2 percent), he takes nearly all of his shots from the rim or three, as he attempted just five long twos last season. He sported a decent mark of 2.4 free-throw attempts per game when considering his workload and his 9.3 field-goal attempts overall, though he shot just 70.7 percent from the charity stripe. This season, there's a strong chance Tate comes off the bench, though that will probably depend on whether Eric Gordon starts or is brought off the bench as a scoring sixth man. Either way, Tate should continue seeing minutes in the mid-20s, though he's also now competing for time against No. 3 overall pick Jabari Smith and No. 17 overall pick Tari Eason, who looked great in Summer League. Kenyon Martin, another forward, also seems to own organizational trust. It's encouraging that Houston inked Tate to a three-year, $22.1 million deal over the summer, though it's not exactly the type of money that guilts a coach into handing him minutes without conditions. Tate ranked 144th in per-game production last season, so he's likely not worthy of a pick in most standard leagues this time around.
Houston Rockets Depth Chart for 2022-23
Click ahead for a detailed Houston Rockets Depth Chart.
- PG: Kevin Porter, TyTy Washington
- SG: Jalen Green, Josh Christopher
- SF: Eric Gordon, Jae'Sean Tate
- PF: Jabari Smith, Tari Eason
- C: Alperen Sengun, Derrick Favors
Houston Rockets Predictions for 2022-23
Houston has put together an intriguing young core, but will they prioritize winning over a chance at Scoot Henderson or Victor Wembanyama? While getting a shot at one of those two prospects is worth tanking for, I still think the Rockets have enough talent to flirt with 30 wins.
- Miss playoffs
Alperen Sengun records a 5x5.
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