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How do the Rockets fill out the roster with Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore now in the fold?

After a spectacular draft, the Rockets enter free agency in a position to address the rest of their needs.

Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

I’m usually a staunch hater of the phrase “last night was a movie”, but I couldn’t think of a better way to encapsulate how well last night’s draft shook out for the Houston Rockets. It can’t be overstated how unpredictable it was that we ended up with BOTH Amen Thompson and Cam Whitmore.

Two top 10, perhaps top five, prospects ending up on the same team is something this city hasn’t seen since... well, April, when the Houston Texans did it, but still! Along with Ausar Thompson, these were two of the three players that the Rockets were projected to take with the fourth pick, given that the top three picks were virtually locked in.

Houston somehow managed to get even more springy yesterday, and while that’s exciting, the job isn’t finished yet. Thompson already has a knack for playmaking and while Whitmore didn’t blaze it from behind the arc at Villanova, he has potential to improve into a reliable shooter. Both players possess the size and athleticism to make a difference on defense so now it’s time for the front office to address the other areas of concern.

I’m still on a high from last night and while I could go on about Thompson and Whitmore, there will be plenty of talk about them going forward. What I’m here for right now is to discuss how Rafael Stone and Ime Udoka should proceed in filling out the rest of the roster in free agency.

Going into the offseason, the Rockets’ most pressing needs were: playmaking, three-point shooting, defense (especially rim protection) and maturity.

The Dream Shake has already outlined who Stone could target this offseason, but now we can zero in on the reasonable targets that Houston should go after now that more pieces have been placed on the puzzle.

Strapped with a strong core of young players, the Rockets seem primed to supplement the depth chart with a flux of veteran contributors.

First and foremost, Brook Lopez.

Lopez would supply the perfect balance of rim protection and floor spacing to complete our big man rotation. A combination of Lopez and Alperen Şengün would be one of the strongest in the league and it would immediately provide Udoka with an anchor under the basket.

Next up, Patrick Beverley. As Pat Bev has already floated out there, he’s very much interested in a reunion. The intensity and experience he could bring back to Houston would be invaluable. I personally don’t foresee Thompson being a starter off the rip, so bringing in Beverley makes for a suitable option at point guard and it gives the team the option to slide Kevin Porter Jr. across the lineup.

It’s important to get Thompson playing time so I’m still against shelling out a large contract for one of the aging point guards that have seen their production decline in recent years. A move like that would certainly stunt Thompson’s PT.

My third order to round out the roster would be to sign Seth Curry. He’s a world-renowned marksman and I couldn’t see him not flourishing here. As far as solving the three-point issues that this team has faced, he’s the quickest solution to the problem.

I’m very particular in these three players because they are low-maintenance, they address the biggest weaknesses, they can help the younger core develop, and their contracts can roll off the books by the time it’s time to shell out large extensions to the likes of Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.

The only other players that I’m still strongly considering going all-out for are Austin Reaves and Cam Johnson. Not only because they are good players, but also to spite their previous franchises. The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are almost certain to match any deal for them, so why not make them pay up? Either way, the Rockets have the money to overpay for them.

The 2023 free agency pool doesn’t hold the weight of LeBron James’ decision in 2010 or Kevin Durant canceling the fun in 2016 so in my mind, it doesn’t make sense to throw money at a teetering star who is only going to make the team marginally better. The hope is that Houston has already drafted the star(s), and that free agency is here to complement them.