The Rockets have a choice to make.

When posed with the quagmire of acquiescence to defeat or certain annihilation, one must quickly consider the benefits and detriments of both; sadly, the Houston Rockets are currently locked in such thinking, left with a relatively easy schedule that could allow them to trip over themselves into the eighth seed and certain destruction at the hands of the Thunder or Spurs… or the equally easy choice of shutting down Kyle Lowry, Marcus Camby and Kevin Martin and hopefully watching the team wilt away while being able to hold onto this year’s lottery pick. It seems insane that such a question is being asked this late in a season, but nothing about this season has made much sense for the Rockets or their fans. Making one decision here that attempted to right it all would be preferable.

Those of us who spend our times pretty closely attached to the pro game of basketball have heard from our counterparts in the scouting scene that this year’s upcoming NBA Draft would be the kind that could yield a buffet of possible stars and permanent rotation players, the kind of haul not seen since LeBron and Co. gave about six teams franchise players on one day. The possibility of a pair of picks in the middle of the draft this year appears to be a much more exciting possibility than it may have been a year ago, but only the Knicks’ now-sure-to-be 15th pick can be certainly handed to Houston; a playoff spot, as most readers now know, will confer Houston’s first-rounder to the Nets, thanks to some shoddy Terrence Williams-related decision making (to be fair, most thinking associated with Williams isn’t the best). Adding in the possible Dallas pick (unlikely as it’s top-20-protected, meaning its falling to the Rockets probably won’t happen and, een if it did, would almost certainly necessitate a victory over Houston tonight), that’s three possible first-round picks for one of the league’s premier talent evaluators in one of the best drafts in ages. And why might we pass this up?

Most of us are calling it veteran experience, but what it comes down to is a little bit of hope. This fanbase has seen this story two years in a row, and three might be pushing the resiliency of an already flimsy group of followers (Not you guys. Reading this pretty much negates you from that group). All any of these fans want are a few games in which Houston looks capable against a title contender, a home win or two, a little bit of payoff for all of those stay-at-home Thursday nights that could have been spent relating better to significant others, going out with friends or generally bettering ourselves. Not that this game doesn’t always provide us with something great, but the playoffs… they’re different, and this fanbase knows it.

Just remember, there are options here, and if in late June you find yourself wondering what could have been as Arnett Moultrie or Austin Rivers or Perry Jones slip down the draft board, remember how much fun that one night in May was. As fans, the memories have to be worth as much to us, or what is any of it for?

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