Projected Top Pick Falls to Rockets in Latest CBS Sports Mock Draft

In CBS Sports' latest mock draft, the Houston Rockets are gifted a wing that's been commonly picked to be the top pick in this year's draft.
Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces Amen Thompson as the fourth selection by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 22, 2023; Brooklyn, NY, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces Amen Thompson as the fourth selection by the Houston Rockets in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft at Barclays Arena. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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The top of the 2024 NBA Draft has been a mystery, as the Atlanta Hawks could go several different directions. The Hawks' decision will certainly impact the Houston Rockets at number three, who could be looking at the same player with their pick.

Granted, the Rockets could always trade out of the pick or even trade down for a later pick, but there hasn't been much buzz on that front of late, despite Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone making it known that the pick is available. 

Initially, the majority of mock drafts had the Rockets selecting Donovan Clingan of Connecticut, the 7-foot-2 big man and defensive extraordinaire. However, the latest buzz and speculation has Clingan possibly being a top-two pick later this month. 

The current betting favorite for the Rockets is Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard, the 3-and-D guard who averaged 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 2.5 steals, 53.6 percent from the field, 52.1 percent from distance, and 83.1 percent from the foul line in his lone season in Lexington.

However, the latest mock draft by CBS Sports has the Rockets selecting Zaccharie Risacher, the 6-foot-8 French wing, who has also drawn consideration from Atlanta with the top pick. The writer, Gary Parrish, explained his rationale. 

"Risacher is among the candidates to go No. 1 overall, which by definition makes him a reasonable option for Houston with the third pick. He's a teenager who pieced together enough nice performances late this season in France to solidify his status as a top-five pick after shooting nearly 40% from the 3-point line in the playoffs."

Risacher's shotmaking/shooting and defensive ability seem to fit what Rockets coach Ime Udoka would want perfectly, but once again, his falling to Houston at number three is contingent on what Atlanta does and whether they take him first. 

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Anthony Duckett

ANTHONY DUCKETT