As part of announcing the expansion of the business partnership with Memorial Hermann, Fertitta and General Manager Raphael Stone took questions from members of the local media after the event at the Toyota Center.
“Tilman made it clear to me that the job is to get to the ultimate goal,” Stone said, referring to the ultimate goal of building another title contender. Houston seems committed to taking no shortcuts in the process.
In many of his responses, Fertitta noted the importance of the NBA draft in building a competitor, and explained that the long-term impact is more important than increasing short-term wins.
“This year, we want to improve in every area,” Fertita said. “But we really look outside and see a window into what’s happening in the Western Conference, and how the teams are getting older.”
“It’s funny to look at it, but when we were the best (2018), the worst teams were Phoenix, Dallas and Memphis,” Fertita added. “Look at those teams now. Because of the draft.”
.RafaelStone12 On the rockets moving up and down the draft: “We’re going to be aggressive. That’s probably the biggest common factor that Tillman and I bring up. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.” Tweet embed: “We could trade another first round (select) and a 4-man draft or we might not recruit anyone” pic.twitter.com/TG1IJhhUT4
– Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) June 21 2022
The Suns, the Grizzlies, and the Mavericks were three of the top five teams in the West by records last season. In a separate answer, Fertita cited the growth of the Celtics Warriors as entrants to the 2022 NBA Finals — led by internal selectors Jason Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Steve Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — as another example of internal growth and development thanks to Project Focus.
With Houston holding three first-round picks in Thursday’s draft, including a No. 3 pick, Fertitta and Stone hope to add at least one piece that will eventually help them achieve that goal.