Tillman Fertitta emphasizes the long-range perspective with the rebuilding of missiles

With Houston firmly involved in the business talks leading up to the 2022 NBA draft, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta made clear Tuesday that the long-term perspective is most important when it comes to rebuilding his team.

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.”

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.

“When you look at Boston and you look at Golden State, these are great teams because these are all drafted players,” Fertita said on Tuesday afternoon. “Their big core were players. Sometimes bad things have to happen in order to be great.”

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.

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