Fred Faour: The Rockets might not be very good (yet), but they should be fun to watch

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Chris Carlson/AP/Shutterstock (12855876i) Auburn forward Jabari Smith celebrates after scoring during the second half of a college basketball game against Jacksonville State in the first round of the NCAA tournament, in Greenville, S.C Jacksonville St Auburn Basketball, Greenville, United States – 18 Mar 2022

Fred Faour: The Rockets might not be very good (yet), but they should be fun to watch

The Houston Rockets hope to take another big step toward respectability in 2022-23. They are probably a year away from being playoff contenders, but if they are anything like they were at the end of last season, they will be fun to watch.

When they open the season Wednesday night against the Hawks, most eyes will be on the Astros in the playoffs. But this team will be worth watching at some point this year. Why? Here are some reasons:

Jalen Green’s development. The young guard clearly has star potential and showed improvement throughout last season. At the end of the year, he was putting up All-Star numbers. All you really want to see is continued improvement for when the team is truly ready to contend. He should take that next step.

How good is Jabari Smith? The third overall pick in the 2022 draft is another player with huge star potential. Many experts thought he was the best player in the draft. The 19-year-old former Auburn standout is a 6-11, 220-pound defensive ace who can also bury the 3. If he can develop along with Green, the Rockets will have two legitimate stars.

The other young talent – who will step up? Kevin Porter Jr. has teamed with Green to form an exciting young backcourt. Alperen Sengun showed signs of being a really good player as a rookie. Putting Smith next to him in the frontcourt should make him better. Other recent first-round picks – TyTy Washington, Tari Eason, Usman Garuba, and Josh Christopher – could become solid rotational players if they develop. Garuba and Christopher showed flashes last season.

One more big draft pick? Let’s face it; the Rockets are probably headed to the lottery again. The hope is they will be what they were at the end of the year last season – fun to watch, but not good enough to ruin their draft status. One more top-five pick could give them a young potential big three and set them up for the 2023-24 season and a possible playoff run.

Realistically, most people don’t pay attention to the NBA until Christmas. But if you are looking for a fun watch when the Astros aren’t on, give these young Rockets a chance. You just might have some fun.

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