Could the Houston Rockets have a second lottery pick this offseason?
Being a fan of a team in a rebuild puts a person in a confusing position. Losses are like vegetables (at least to my palette). You know they’re good for you, but that doesn’t mean you like them.
On the other hand, an angel takes flight every time the Brooklyn Nets lose. It’s something they’ve been doing a lot lately. Rockets fans tracking their draft position went from fantasizing about adding role-players to running the Tankathon simulator until the team took over Chet and Jabari.
This remains unlikely. However, the possibilities are endless. I teamed up with fellow The Dream Shake staffer, Zach Allen, to talk about some of the players the team could target with the Brooklyn pick.
Who could the Rockets land with the Brooklyn pick?
James: What’s good Zach? Watch us write another joint piece. We become a kind of tag team.
First question: if we were a tag team, what would be a good name for us?
Zach: What a good brother! I’m just trying to survive that four dollar gas in Houston, Texas. I was thinking like the Zo and Piercey show… It still takes a lot of thinking, man!
James: So, with The Nets struggling lately, some Rockets fans are dreaming of landing two lottery picks this season. As crazy as it sounds, is it realistic? How do you anticipate the rest of the season for the Nets?
Zach: With the Nets struggling recently, there’s a chance this pick is a decent one. Ben Simmons won’t be returning to basketball for a while, it seems, which is a little weird. But he has back issues, so those need to be taken seriously at his height. With KD losing to the Miami Heat without Jimmy Butler and KD-Kyrie losing together to the Celtics, the Nets are in serious trouble because of this missing commodity. KD-Kyrie has missed a ton of games together and the warrant won’t be lifted by the mayor, so no surprise if their losing columns stack up. The Nets have become a possible play-in team at the right time. It’s getting hilarious that the Nets gave us this pick trade due to James Harden in return. It’s funny how the Philadelphia 76ers are so hot and the Nets are bombing each other.
james: Give me some of your favorite leads that we could hypothetically land with this pick.
- Nikola Jovic
- Patrick Baudouin
- Wendell Moore Jr.
- Ochai Agbaji
- Keegan Murray
- Tari Reason
- Johnny Davis
No particular order but that’s what I like about the Rockets because they are versatile players who can score at all three levels. Nikola Jovic would be one no matter what. He could move up in the draft because of his European skills. Leading plays, shooting and scoring are his tools for success.
No surprise if the Rockets jump on Patrick Baldwin Jr. because of his bad season. But the draft shows they see his advantage at 6’9.
Ochai Agbaji is up for National Player of the Year and Big 12 Player of the Year. He had a terrific season at Kansas.
Wendell Moore Jr. displayed his game improvements, which needed to be improved if he was to be drafted. A powerful player who knows how to finish in transition and can shoot around the screens.
Johnny Davis is creative in mid-range play and good in defense. I describe it as Demar Derozan 2.0.
Tari Eason has sixth-man potential around him and is versatile as he stretches the ground with his shot and can play defense. Good in switching situations.
Keegan Murray is rock hard due to his ability to score downhill and hit the open shot.
James: Interesting! I like a bunch of these names, although they’re all available, that’s another matter. I see Davis and Murray being off the board before the pick.
I really hope to see the team prioritize defense in the draft. I’m obsessed with Tari Eason. I actually think he has star potential as well. His handle is surprisingly fluid and he has a good passing instinct. He could be this close to being a star weapon, like Kawhi fresh out of college.
Defensively, he has a lot of fight in him. He’s fundamentally sound but he’s also relentless, I like that combination.
Eason is by far my top choice, but Jeremy Sochan on Baylor is also intriguing. I don’t think he defends with the same enthusiasm but he has the fundamentals. At 6’9” and 235 pounds with good mobility, he should be a multi-position player.
Baylor has another guy that intrigues me, but on the fence about Kendall Brown. He is probably the best running and jumping athlete in the whole class, and he has a high IQ. His three-point shot just isn’t there yet, so he’s probably not what we’re trying to do. I would still like the team to watch it.
I’m with you on Ochai Agbadi, although I obviously favor the all-around four, he looks like one of the best three-and-D prospects in the draft. He would be an excellent choice. I like Jovic, he’s just not exactly what I envision. I’m on Baldwin Jr., although the kid has every chance of proving me wrong!
Finally, one player that we won’t take as high as this pick will land that I’m very curious about is Ousmane Dieng of the New Zealand Breakers. I know he’s having a tough year in the NBL, but he’s got good handling and passing vision for a kid who’s 6’9″/6’10”. I have a funny feeling that he’s just gross and could be a steal. I’m probably dreaming.
One thing is certain though: with the Nets not playing well, the Rockets’ offseason prospects are getting more interesting by the minute.