It doesn’t seem to say anything good about the previous season of tanking, and where the Rockets are picking in the 2023 NBA Draft (June 22nd, 7:30PM CST), that the most promising thought I have is “Maybe the Rockets can trade this pick to some team, for a future top 3 protected, but with a floor of 7th?” pick?
It seems overwhelmingly likely that the top 2 players, Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson will be gone before the Rockets pick 4th. A trade might happen after #1, but I’ll go out on a limb and say there is zero chance San Antonio will trade their 1-1 pick.
But is an early Scoot pick set in stone?
Brandon Miller is currently believed to be headed to the Charlotte Hornets #2, and I wish them joy of him, which leaves the Portland Trailblazers at #3. If Portland is keeping Damien Lillard, and attempting to build something around him, is Scoot the guy they want? Their team would lean very heavily towards not-especially-tall guards (barring a trade of Ant Simons, or Shaedon Sharpe). Does that mean Portland might want the do-it-all defender and play maker, but non-shooter, Amen Thompson?
Or does it mean they’ll trade with NOLA, who really want Scoot? If Portland can’t work out a trade with someone, probably the Pelicans, for the #3 pick, then yes, some sort of strange NBA miracle might happen and the Rockets could draft Scoot Henderson.
Let’s say that doesn’t happen. It’s pick #4, Wemby, Scoot and Miller are gone. What now?
Do the Rockets gamble on Amen Thompson, his crazy athleticism, supposed defense and passing? Do they draft UH Cougar Jarace Walker? The Other Thompson Twin? Anthony Black?
I have no idea. My conclusion is that after the top 3, the rest of the top ten or so picks are roughly on the same level. The Thompsons might (might) find a shot, and in that case, they might (might) end up better than anyone in this draft. Worst case, they’re probably somewhere between Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook, which sounds disappointing, but is pretty useful, if you’ve got other shooters.
That is, unless playing AAU kids, and doing workouts is misleading, despite a great attitude. A comment from Kevin O’Connor that Amen had his game stifled by some former Creighton players in The Basketball Tournmanet isn’t super encouraging. Nor is Kevin Pelton not being able, or willing, to use Overtime Elite stats in his statistical ranking of draft prospects.
Which leaves mean wondering if the Rockets shouldn’t trade down, or out, of the top 4 pick? This is a bitter pill, after a season of tanking, but is it good medicine?
Maybe they should trade the pick for a real player of some sort? They have the cap space, and under the new rules, teams pretty much have to spend up to the cap. Seeing the players flying around tonight it makes me think some other interesting guys could be in play for #4. (Marcus Smart, Kristaps Porzingis were traded tonight. Memphis somehow got MORE annoying. Also, it seems Boston didn’t like the coaching job Smart did against Miami, when Mazulla was staring vacantly into the abyss. I guess the coach they fired was Smart, but it had to be someone.)
Rumors also have the Rockets attempting to trade out of the #20 pick. I’d rather them make that pick. The risk is low, and in this draft, where every player past, say, 3, is a serious risk, and maybe roughly on the same talent level as pretty much the entire draft - that is to say, kind of random. It wouldn’t surprise me if the 3rd best player in this draft was picked 10th or later.
I’ve watched some video etc, and I can’t really see why the Rockets wouldn’t draft Leonard Miller, instead of Brandon Miller, if they can get Leonard at 20. Leonard is a year younger, and no, he didn’t shoot the three as well (33% vs 38%), but he was playing at a higher level against pros, in the GLeague, his FT numbers indicate his shot could well develop (again, a year younger). Otherwise, they seem to be much the same player. I’d be thrilled if the Rockets landed him with the 20th pick. Another big shooting SF/PF type take late hardly seems a risk at all.
Anyhow, those are my thoughts on Draftmas Eve. I’ll be live blogging the event, and any craziness, tomorrow, rolling old school or something like that.
#4 Pick - The Rockets Should:
This poll is closed
Make The Pick - it’s what we suffered for.
Trade Down - after the top two, it’s much of a muchness.
Trade Out For Future Picks Several Years Down The Road.
Trade For A High Level Veteran
Trade For A Grab Bag of Lesser Veterans
Trade #4 for Luka