Rockets' Top Needs in 2022 NBA Draft

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 2, 2022

Rockets' Top Needs in 2022 NBA Draft

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    Chris Schwegler/Getty Images

    The Houston Rockets may not have won the 2022 NBA draft lottery, but they walked away with something akin to a jackpot prize.

    They landed the No. 3 pick in a draft that many feel features a three-prospect tier at the top. In other words, unless the Rockets become infatuated with one of those three—Auburn's Jabari Smith, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero—they can sit back, watch whatever drama may unfold over the first two picks and snag whichever of the trio of prospects happens to fall their way.

    Given the state of their post-James Harden rebuild, Houston really isn't in position to take team needs into account during the annual draft night. Still, this roster has many needs, and in a perfect world, they will align with the incoming prospects' strengths.

    To set the table in Space City, here are Houston's top draft needs. 

Paint Protection

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    Youth-heavy, rebuilding rosters often struggle defensively.

    The Rockets fielded one of several youth-heavy, rebuilding rosters this season. Their defense fared worse than anyone's.

    Houston has holes all over, but it is especially vulnerable in the middle. Christian Wood, a prime summer trade candidate, does his best work (by far) on offense. Same goes for Alperen Sengun.

    This probably won't impact the No. 3 pick—it certainly shouldn't—but maybe it gives Houston something to think about if Banchero, the best scorer but worst defender of the top trio, is the one who ends up there. 


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    Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    Four different offenses averaged better than two assists for every turnover committed this season, per Twenty-nine tallied more than 1.5 helpers for every giveaway.

    Care to guess which one didn't make the cut?

    If you said the offense quarterbacked by rookie Jalen Green and third-year combo guard Kevin Porter Jr., you nailed it.

    Houston needs players who understand how to value possessions. And create plays for their teammates. And ditch defenders off the dribble. You get the idea.

Premier Talent

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    Houston has one home run talent on the roster in Green. Even then, the 20-year-old shines brighter for his potential than his actual production.

    Sengun has some tantalizing talents. Porter is usually good for a jaw-dropper or two. Josh Christopher blends advanced shot-creation with suffocating defense. If everything goes right for Usman Garuba down the line, Houston could have a five-tool defender.

    For now, though, this rebuild is about Green first and foremost, and then everyone else. Houston has to make sure the No. 3 pick joins him on the top rung.

    The Rockets already have a decent collection of role players who could carve out important niches on good teams sooner than later. They just need stars to support. Green looks like one. The No. 3 pick better resemble one, too.