4 most captivating scenarios before Rockets Media Day
Media Day is essentially the NBA version of the first day of school crossed with photo day. All 30 teams, including the Houston Rockets, start off with a 0-0 record, so there’s excitement and energy to start the season. Players, coaches and executives all talk about the fact that outside expectations and perceptions don’t matter, but of course everyone has a chip on their shoulders for one reason or another. Since everyone is generally in a good mood, this is usually the best time for someone like me and their media colleagues to dig into compelling storylines and get almost candid answers (nothing is ever totally frank in the NBA).
The Rockets are no different. Much like last year, there are many fascinating stories to explore.
1. John Wall
It’s understandable that the Rockets and John Wall both want to go in different directions, but the team will always be questioned about that. From a league perspective, this is the Rockets’ most compelling storyline. People want to know how the decision was made so quickly and there is uncertainty as to whether or not Houston will find a suitor for Wall. There’s also the question of whether or not the Rockets would consider a buyout this season. General Manager Rafael Stone is very tactful in what he says to the media and since it was a mutual decision he probably prepared remarks or answers to questions.
2. An important season for Kevin Porter Jr.
Actually, I don’t know what other people think of it, but for me, Kevin Porter Jr. quickly became the Houston Rockets’ 2021-2022 most compelling storyline. The movement of the wall means Houston wants Porter Jr. to be their starting point guard and they don’t want anyone to interfere with its use.
It’s a big test for a 21-year-old who was just traded for nothing a few months ago, but he also has a lot of financial incentives to perform. There isn’t enough talk about how Porter Jr. qualifies for the expansion after this season. Typically, players who show flashes of All-Star potential get the expansion, and all other players try their hand at restricted free agency play.
Porter Jr.’s piece will state which camp he belongs to and it will be interesting to see what he has to say about it on Media Day.
3. Jalen Green’s rookie year
It shouldn’t be news for Jalen Green, but when you’re the second overall pick in the draft and proclaim that you should have been number one, you put yourself in the spotlight. Not only has Green said on several occasions that he is aiming to win Rookie of the Year, but he’s also put in an outstanding performance in the NBA Summer League, so there are plenty of eyeballs on the Rockets for him. alone. It was a great draft class and Houston picked Green over other players who also have All-Star potential, so there’s a lot of pressure on both sides to make Green look like a stallion in his debut. season.
I believe most other people have Green as the most compelling storyline for the Rockets this season and they have every right to do so. Rafael Stone and Stephen Silas will receive questions about Green’s play this season. Plus, Green is probably the favorite for the longest player press conference.
4. Eric Gordon’s Last Possible Media Day as a Rocket
It’s not hard to predict how Eric Gordon’s story will end in Houston. By the time PJ Tucker was traded to Milwaukee, it didn’t take a genius to guess which veteran player was next. Chances are, Gordon will be transferred to a playoff team by the February trade deadline for a first-round pick. The franchise has leaned heavily in favor of a youth movement, recruiting four 19-year-olds last July and agreeing to leave John Wall last week. Gordon was just an accomplished professional in Houston and he will likely remain that way on Media Day.
However, the obvious questions will be asked and it might become uncomfortable.
Even though there will be awkward moments, Media Day is usually a lot of fun, both for the fans and the media. Everyone wants to kick off the 2021-22 season and it’s good that the NBA is finding a new normal after the past two years. The Rockets are especially happy to leave the past behind to enter the new season.