Light the Fuse: A new era for the Houston Rockets


David J Phillip / Associated Press

The Houston Rockets celebrate a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ari Strauss, Reporter

As the Houston Rockets came out with their motto for this year, “Light the Fuse,” they implied that the fire went out when former MVP James Harden was traded last season. “Light the Fuse” is a message for the future, a message for the new generation. As the Rockets acquired four first-round picks for last year’s draft, the Rockets general manager, Rafael Stone, and the rest of the Rockets front office shared this sentiment of beginning a new era of Rockets basketball.

Harden’s trade marked the new age of Rockets basketball, as his departure had been building for many months prior to the blockbuster trade and many Rockets fans, including Emery sophomore Matthew Mintz, thought it was “time to move on from Harden, as the front office did everything they could to put the best players around him, and still reached a dead end.” In exchange for Harden, the Rockets received Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodinous Kurucus, and a haul of first-round picks. On paper, this was a decent return, yet the fact that none of those players are currently on the roster shows the true one-sidedness of the trade.

The 2021 NBA draft reassured Rockets fans that their front organization was looking to the future. Second overall pick, Jalen Green, and other first-round draftees such as Alperen Sengun and Josh Christopher hope to improve the culture of the team. Rockets fans agree, as senior captain of Emery’s basketball team, Justin Bolton, thinks these new additions “will bring swagger and speed to the game which could be beneficial” to the team. Pairing these players with young assets already on the team such as Kevin Porter Jr, 21, Jae’sean Tate, 26, and Christian Wood, 26 should help the young rookies get their bearings in the league. 

It has been 439 days since the James Harden trade, and the Rockets team has been totally revamped for a rebuild. With only one player left from the Rocket’s legendary playoff runs, a new era is approaching. The new and young players are making adjustments, yet their rocky 20-60 season is typical for rebuilds. It may take some time, but this Rockets team is built for the future, and it is time to start tuning in before the hype train takes off.