Houston Rockets NBA picks, needs, goals: Is Banchero a smart move?

After selecting Jaylen Green with the No. 2 overall pick in 2021, Houston will once again be at the top of this year’s draft; the Rockets were given the No. 3 pick by the Powerhouse (lottery) this season, and they could be at No. 3 , 17th and 26th with several prospects. Houston is in the midst of a major rebuild, but has some talent to build, including last year’s No. 2 pick Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr, Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba, Josh Christopher and a few other high-profile players. Houston desperately needs a defense and a real point guard; everything else will help its cause in the long run, but it won’t solve the immediate problem. See which rookies I think are a good fit for Houston and if they’re a good fit for the Rockets given their position in the draft.

Houston Rockets pick

Houston Rockets draft needs

Houston may not get the coveted No. 1 overall pick, but in a draft with four seemingly top players, it will go with at least one of them. The current favorite to start with the Orlando Magic is Jabari Smith Jr., a 6-foot-10 power forward with a pure jumper and a great defensive edge. If that happens, there’s a good chance Oklahoma City will use the second pick to draft unicorn Chet Holmgren, leaving Paul Banchero or Jaden Ivey to the Houston Rockets . Ivey might not make much sense because of his fitness, but any of these forwards would be great in Houston because of their defensive edge and offensive talent. Banchero is my favorite to go to the Rockets because they play fast. Banchero has excellent straight-line speed, vertical movement, transition scoring and playmaking as a power forward. The fit makes sense and is the most likely outcome.

Houston Rockets draft target

Banchero is now the most likely to fall to No. 3 for the Rockets, which is actually a best-case scenario for them. The Rockets just traded Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks for several role players and the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft, opening the door for Banchero to start immediately. He’ll be joining a frontcourt featuring Alperen Sengun, a crafty big man with excellent footwork.

A No. 17 pick that makes sense to me is Ousmane Dieng, a pro from the Australian NBL. Dieng is a 6-foot-10 small forward with some flashes of defense, including being the primary ball handler in the pick-and-roll. If he somehow fell to the Rockets midway through the first round, I would be shocked if they waived him. He’ll be a long-term program, but his strengths, size, height and playmaking ability are undeniable and deserve to be picked in the middle of the first round.

It was clear throughout last season that Houston still needed a true point guard who could help take over some of the leading guard duties from Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green. TyTy Washington will soon provide a solution to this problem, perfecting Houston’s future backcourt. This opportunity is probably too good to pass up, especially considering the Rockets will almost certainly select a power forward in their first choice.

Recent Houston Rockets draft picks and trends

  • 2021: Jaylen Green – 2nd, Usman Garuba – 23rd, Josh Christopher – 24th
  • 2015: Sam Decker – No. 18 pick
  • 2014: Clint Capela – No. 25
  • 2012: Jeremy Lamb – No. 12, Royce White – No. 16, Terence Jones – No. 18
  • year 2011: Marcus Morris – 14th pick, Nikola Mirotic – 23rd pick
  • year 2010: Patrick Patterson – 14th
  • Year 2008: Nicholas Batum – No. 25
  • 2007: Aaron Brooks – No. 26 pick

It should be noted that the Houston Rockets did not have any first-round picks from 2016 to 2020. Their last three first-round picks were last year, and that’s all we’ve got to judge them right now. Houston loves players with high ceilings and isn’t afraid to pick or trade international players like Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba and Clint Capela. The Rockets haven’t shied away from attracting players with no college experience in recent years, either. That shouldn’t affect their No. 3 pick this year, but it could mean Dion is their ideal player in the middle of the first round.

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