2021 NBA Draft: Houston Rockets Number Two Pick

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NORMAN, OK - FEBRUARY 27: Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) calls a play during overtime against the Oklahoma Sooners on February 27th, 2021 at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman Oklahoma. (Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The NCAA basketball season has ended and many prospects have begun declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. The top prospects are already on everyone’s draft boards and the NBA draft lottery will determine where every lottery team will fall.

The Houston Rockets are a half game back from the worst record in the league giving the Rockets a 12% chance at the number one pick. If the Rockets fall to the worst record in the league their chances will increase to 14% to snag the number 1 pick in the draft. I’ll detail my opinion on who the Rockets should pick if they end up getting the number 2 pick.

2021 NBA Draft Top Prospects

The Rockets are ending the first season of their full on rebuild and there’s no doubt they would love to pick the top prospect in the draft Cade Cunningham but he will most likely be off the table by the 2nd pick. The Rockets will still have plenty of options, but they need to know exactly what they want to do in the future.

If the Rockets want to pair another elite big man next to Christian Wood they can go after Evan Mobley. If they want a well rounded, NBA ready point guard for John Wall to take under his wing Jalen Suggs may be their guy.

This year’s NBA draft has a variety of young talent and the Rockets have an opportunity to find diamonds in the rough even if they aren’t ranked at the top of the draft boards. The Rockets can take a look at guys that skipped college to focus on preparing for the NBA Draft:

Jalen Green posted really impressive numbers against NBA level talent while his peers competed on a collegiate level. Jonathan Kuminga also put up decent numbers against NBA level talent and showed his ability to make an immediate impact especially on the defensive end.

Predictions

The Rockets have plenty of young talent already on their current squad and the best direction for the front office to take is to pick according to roster needs not just picking the best player available. If the Rockets are picking at the number two spot, they may want to take a look at Jalen Green. He can play off-ball and take over the primary ball handling duties if needed.

The Rockets are prepping Kevin Porter Jr. to take over the point guard role for the future and they need a pure scorer. The young core of KPJ and Jalen Green has the chance to blend elite athleticism, above average playmaking and the potential of knock down shooting.

If I had the authority to make the decision, Jalen Green would be the second overall pick for the Rockets in the NBA draft. The Rockets need a closer and a pure scorer to fill out the roster of the future. Green will be able to play behind John Wall and Eric Gordon giving him a perspective on how to last in the league. Green has the potential to also be a decent two way prospect with his length and athleticism making the young core for the Rockets a very dangerous defensive squad. His top tier shot making is a must have for the youth movement for the Rockets.

Green posted a great stat line for his first season playing NBA players on a regular basis. He put up 18 PPG, 4 RPG, 3 APG shooting 36% from downtown on 6 attempts and 46% from the field. Green has a blend of finishing, shot making and playmaking ability, making him one of the most underrated prospects in this years NBA draft. The Rockets “fade for Cade” campaign may not pan out and the front office needs to keep their eyes open on the next best prospect that will elevate this roster.

Honorable Mention

The Rockets will be able to pick whoever they want in the 2021 NBA draft other than Cade Cunningham at the number two spot, but a decent combine can sway the opinions on who really deserves to go number two. Jalen Green would fit the current construct of the Rockets roster like a glove, but it’s a possibility the front office may want to move KPJ back to his natural position at shooting guard in the offseason. If so the Rockets may want to take a look at Jalen Suggs in the 2021 NBA draft.

Suggs just ended his collegiate career in the national championship game and had a great run in the NCAA tourney. He may be the most NBA ready prospect coming out of college. After the NBA Draft combine he may distance himself from the rest of the point guards coming into the league.

Elite playmaking and basketball IQ make him a threat to make immediate impact in the NBA. Suggs put up 14 PPG, 5 RPG and 4 APG in the 2020-21 collegiate season. His stats don’t warrant the hype but the eye test definitely shows why he’s the highest ranked point guard in this years NBA draft.

The plan for the Rockets is to, of course, get the number one overall pick and complete the “fade for Cade”. The reality is that there’s still a possibility that the Rockets may fall to the number two overall pick or lower in the NBA draft. It’s important to have a plan A, B, and C when it comes to drafting for the future but we know Rafael Stone and the Rockets front office know exactly what they are doing. Hopefully the Rockets can get the number one pick like they imagined, but the 2021 NBA draft is loaded and they’ll have plenty of options.


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