Ranking the NBA Southwest Division: Where do the Mavericks land?

Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks
Memphis Grizzlies v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
3 of 6
Houston Rockets, Jalen Green
Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

4. Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets had one of, if not the strangest off-seasons in the association. The Rockets decided to infuse their promising young core with a slew of veterans in free agency.

In the offseason, the Rockets signed veterans Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Jeff Green, and Jock Landale to sizable deals.

Point guard VanVleet is a nice addition, as he will stabilize the Rockets' backcourt. Since dealing James Harden in 2020, Houston has been looking for their floor general. Kevin Porter Jr. has manned the position for the past two-plus years, but he's more of a combo guard than a true lead guard. The fit next to former second-overall pick Jalen Green was wonky at best.

Other than VanVleet, the rest of the offseason additions were head-scratchers. Brooks is a solid contributor, especially on defense, but he will assuredly take away shots from the younger Rockets. Brooks hasn't shot less than thirteen times per game since 2019. And to make matters worse, Brooks has never had an above-average true shooting percentage.

Jeff Green likely won't eat into any of the young core's minutes, but signing him for two years and $16 million at 36 years old is a bit odd, even if the second year is non-guaranteed. As for Landale, he's a solid player, but four years and $32 million is questionable for a 27-year-old with only 123 games played.

The rest of the Rockets squad is young and athletic with untapped potential. Jalen Green is a star scorer whose game should take a leap while surrounded by veterans. Jabari Smith Jr. and Alperen Segun form a stout frontcourt. Furthermore, both players should take their games to another level this season.

Lest we forget Amen Thompson, the uber-athletic guard/forward Houston drafted fourth overall. While Thompson could initially come off the bench, he adds to an already intriguing core.

The Rockets may not be the most competitive team this season, but Houston is surely built for future success.