Garuba's band

The Spanish Usman Garuba comes to a team that went from the elite to the bottom of the NBA last season, with the sainete by James Harden as a trigger.


The Houston Rockets had been one of the best teams in the NBA for years before. He played in the playoffs for the title eight seasons in a row, the best streak of any franchise when the 2019-20 season ended. But the coveted ring (which hasn't arrived in Houston since 1995) faded year after year, almost always (four of those eight times) in losses to the all-powerful Warriors. The executive Daryl Morey, who is mainly responsible for the analytical revolution that has changed the way of playing in the NBA and has led to the arrival of the triple era as the main weapon of the game, built a team led by Mike D'Antoni on the bench and James Harden, one of the great scorers of all time, on the court. And he tried it with other stars like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook…

But last season the project fell apart. End of cycle. Morey ended up with the Sixers, D'Antoni as an assistant with the Nets, who also took Harden. Westbrook came out and Robert Covington and PJ Tucker came out. The Rockets racked up draft rounds and gave young players minutes as losses piled up with a rookie but also a reputable coach: Stephen Silas. After four seasons above 60% wins, a stretch of twenty consecutive losses (a month and a half without winning a game) led to the worst balance in the entire NBA: 17-55, 23% wins. And, after the draft lottery, to a very valuable number 2 because a brood of rookies arrived that many believe may be historic. In a highly reputable draft, the Rockets selected four 19-year-olds: Jalen Green (No. 2), Alperen Sengün (16), Usman Garuba (23) and Josh Cristopher (24) .

So this is the zero kilometer of the rebuilding of the Houston Rockets and the first step of Usman Garuba in the NBA, where he has confirmed two years for almost 4 million dollars. Afterwards, the Rockets will be able to renew him for the third and fourth seasons unilaterally before the Spanish center can sign an extension that will apply from the fifth season. The Houston press celebrates Garuba's arrival on a team that had the fourth worst defense in the NBA last season. The experts have it clear: "He could be the defensive axis that the Rockets need", "possibly it is the biggest robbery of the first round", "he will be the defensive quarterback of the team" ... 444 444

Garuba does not reach a team with an urgent need to win. The objective according to the managers is "to build a team culture, with a positive attitude and good habits." An order that has references: Jalen Green, the shooting guard with the second in the draft, is a tremendous scorer with superstar potential. On the inside, the Rockets have 25-year-old center Christian Wood, who is around the all-star level (21 points and almost 10 rebounds last season). They are in theory the main stars that the rest of the young people have to surround themselves with. Garuba arrives with a lot of defensive potential and in 16 Sengün was chosen, a Turkish pivot who was MVP of the League of his country last season and who stands out in attack, for his old-school movements, his ability to shoot and his vision of the game. . In addition, in Texas they will want to see what other young people like Armoni Brooks, Kenyon Martin Jr, Jae'Sean Tate and, above all, Kevin Porter Jr, a huge talent that his bad head has not allowed to emerge yet. The Cavs drafted it and later gifted it to the Rockets, tired of their troubles. In 26 games in Texas, the guard (21 years old) averaged more than 16 points and 6 assists.

If he focuses, Porter Jr will be another essential piece in rebuilding a team that has veterans like Eric Gordon, DJ Augustin, German center Daniel Theis and John Wall, a star lost due to injuries, and whose future it is uncertain in the franchise. That future belongs to the exceptional Green, the great hope, Woods, Sengün, Porter Jr, Christoper (an exterior still to be done but with potential) and, of course, Garuba. That he can establish himself in a new hard core in which he should find patience and opportunities. Not a bad start.

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