It’s official: the Houston Rockets will pick third in the 2022 NBA Draft. In some ways, it’s the least stressful place they could be.
This is widely regarded as a three-man draft. The Rockets need some of what each of the top three prospects can provide. Let’s be honest: the Rockets have a lot of needs.
Houston Rockets have a range of options
Paulo Banchero has the potential to be an offensive engine. Chet Holmgren projects as the best rim protector in his class. Jabari Smith Jr.’s floor as a high-end three-and-D wing makes him a player every rebuilding team will at least need when they’re ready to contend again.
In the same breath, each has flaws. Banchero’s three-point efficiency at the professional level is far from a given, and neither is his defensive value. Holmgren’s lithe frame provides little precedent in terms of either success or failure. Smith Jr.’s limitations as a ball-handler will keep him at that same floor level if he can’t improve on them.
Rafael Stone isn’t married to picking one of the three, but it sure feels like the most probable outcome. The next rated prospect, Jaden Ivey, presents complications that many Rockets fans would prefer to avoid. Otherwise, someone would likely have to make Stone a godfather offer before he entertained trading down.
The Magic will pick ahead of the Rockets at first, and the Thunder second. Any discussion about who the Rockets are likely to select begins with who those teams are likely to select.
Either way, on June 23rd, the Rockets will get some clarity about their future.
Every option on the table should excite their fanbase.