The Houston Rockets had their preseason opener on Sunday. They defeated the San Antonio Spurs 134-96.
Houston had two rookies in the game that played well, one of which came as no surprise. Jabari Smith Jr. is 3rd favorite with bet365 to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. In 24 minutes on Sunday, he had 21 points and 8 rebounds while going +19 for plus/minus.
Tari Eason, who was selected 17th in the 2022 NBA Draft, also played well in the game. In 21 minutes, he had a double-double for points and rebounds at 21 and 10 respectively. Eason’s play may surprise some as he is the 21st favorite for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award with bet365 at odds of 66 to 1.
Smith Jr. will likely be Houston’s starting power forward on opening night. Tari Eason, who is 6’8″, plays the same position but can also play small forward. If Eason continues to show potential then he might be able to take the starting role for small forward away from veteran Eric Gordon.
Houston has low expectations for the 2022/23 NBA season. Their win total with bet365 has been set at 24.5 for the entire regular season. The Spurs, the team that Houston beat on Sunday, are one of the few teams that have lower expectations. One question that comes with almost any rookie is whether or not he is NBA ready. If Houston has two rookies that can play effective minutes, then it will improve the complexion of their upcoming season immensely.
Houston’s preseason will continue on October 7th when they face the Toronto Raptors. The regular season will start on October 19th when the Rockets travel to face the Atlanta Hawks.