With the end of a long, losing season finally in the books, it’s time to start looking towards the future for the Houston Rockets. With the draft lottery scheduled on tap for June 22, we won’t be sure exactly how Houston is picking until then, but here is what we know.
The Rockets finished with the worst record in the NBA. As such, they have a 52-percent chance to finish in the top four of the draft lottery. If they indeed land a top-four pick, they will get to keep their natural first-round selection.
If they fall out of the top four, the pick instead goes to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook deal. If the pick goes to OKC, the Rockets will instead pick at number 18 in lieu of the Miami Heat. This pick only conveys if Houston falls out of the top four.
The Rockets also own first-round picks from the Portland Trail Blazers and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Portland pick, which came to Houston in the Robert Covington deal, will fall somewhere between 21-23 due to Portland finishing in a record tie with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers. That seeding will officially be decided later today by a coin flip.
In addition, Houston also owns pick number 24, which came to them from the Bucks in the P.J. Tucker deal.
So obviously, we’ll be pulling not only for the Rockets to land a top four in the draft lottery, but also for Portland to finish the coin flip at pick 21 so that Houston receives the best picks possible.
No matter what happens, the Rockets have three first-round picks this year. Pick 1-4 or 18 from Miami depending on lottery, pick 21-23 from Portland depending on coin flip, and pick 24 set in stone from Milwaukee.
The Rockets haven’t made a pick in the first round since selecting Sam Dekker with the 18th pick in the 2015 draft, so it’s an exciting time to both be a fan and write about something we haven’t seen with this team in six seasons. Not only that, but we get three picks to boot. That is, of course, unless new GM Rafael Stone uses them as ammunition to move up, but that remains to be seen.
For now, the Rockets have three picks, and there’s not much more you can ask for when you’re in the middle of a rebuild.