The young and rebuilding Houston Rockets have remained at or near the league’s basement for most of this season, which has led many fans to fixate on the race for 2023 NBA draft positioning. In most situations, the optimal result from an odds perspective is to lose.
But Tuesday’s home matchup versus Brooklyn could bring some draft benefits to the Rockets, regardless of the result! Now without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the new-look Nets are only 2.5 games ahead of Miami for the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference standings, which is the final spot that automatically qualifies for the playoffs without having to go through the play-in tournament.
Should Brooklyn ultimately miss the playoffs and win one of the NBA’s four lottery picks, Houston has the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets in the 2023 draft. It’s a longshot scenario, certainly, since the Rockets would have much higher odds of landing a top pick, themselves. But any small boost certainly can’t hurt.
To accomplish that objective, Houston’s first priority is slowing down Mikal Bridges, who has taken advantage of an increased role since being dealt from Phoenix to Brooklyn in the Durant trade. In nine games with the Nets, Bridges is averaging 26.1 points (53.6% FG, 50.0% on 3-pointers) and 5.9 rebounds in 34.8 minutes.
When and How to Watch
Date: Tuesday, March 7
Time: 7 p.m. Central
TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest, NBA League Pass
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free in Houston markets)
Probable starting lineups
Houston Rockets (15-49)
Brooklyn Nets (36-28)
Projected lineups are based on each team’s previous game.
The injury reports are clean except for Brooklyn’s Ben Simmons, who is out with left knee/back soreness. Each team’s two-way players (David Duke Jr. and Dru Smith for the Nets, and Darius Days and Trevor Hudgins with the Rockets) are in the G League and not with their respective NBA parent clubs, owing to those healthy rosters.