Tilman Fertitta Excited About Rockets' Future Despite Having NBA's Worst Record

Adam WellsMay 12, 2021

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 9 :  Houston Rockets Owner Tilman Fertitta attends a game between the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks on January 9, 2019 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

As the Houston Rockets put the finishing touches on one of the worst seasons in franchise history, team owner Tilman Fertitta is optimistic about the future. 

Speaking to ESPN's Tim MacMahon, Fertitta expressed his excitement about the long-term direction of the Rockets. 

"I never thought I could feel this good when I've been so upset about losing," he said. "But when I look at all the draft picks that we have and the future, I'm just happy. I know it's unusual to feel this good with your coach and your general manager, but I do."

The Rockets clinched the NBA's worst record on Monday night thanks to their 140-129 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. They are 16-53 with three games remaining. 

Houston's .232 winning percentage is the third-lowest in franchise history for a single season. Only the 1982-83 team (.171) and 1967-68 San Diego Rockets squad (.183) were worse. 

After both of those seasons, the Rockets drafted a future Hall of Famer with the No. 1 pick, although Elvin Hayes' best years came after he was traded to Washington. 

The Rockets will have the opportunity to select No. 1 overall this year if they win the lottery. The top of this year's class is loaded with potential superstars, including Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs. 

The James Harden trade also got the Rockets four unprotected first-round draft picks (two in 2022, 2024, 2026) and four pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) from the Brooklyn Nets. 

This has been a season to forget in Houston, with four losing streaks of at least five games—including 20 straight from Feb. 3-March 21. 

If Rockets general manager Rafael Stone and the front office can maximize their return on those future picks, it won't take long before the franchise is back among the Western Conference elites.