Why Rockets Shouldn't Draft Reed Sheppard

The Houston Rockets could draft Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard with the No. 3 overall pick, but it could be a massive risk.
Mar 15, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15) drives baseline past
Mar 15, 2024; Nashville, TN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Reed Sheppard (15) drives baseline past / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets will be on the clock with the No. 3 overall pick in next month's draft, and among the top options for the team to select could be Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard.

Sheppard, who turns 20 in June, is considered to be one of the top NCAA prospects, and his 3-point shot is one of the best in the draft class. Sheppard played one season at Kentucky, averaging 12.5 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.1 rebounds across 33 games last season. The Rockets need to add players who can space the floor, so that's why the team should pick him. However, his fit with the Rockets isn't seamless.

"Sheppard, a 6’1 sniper from Kentucky, measured at a 42 inch max vertical leap at the combine," Forbes writes. "While he would provide an instant boost from long distance to one of the worst shooting rosters in the NBA, Sheppard’s size is a concern. The team’s backcourt of the future currently projects as 2021 second overall pick Jalen Green alongside 2023 fourth overall pick Amen Thompson. Veteran guard Fred VanVleet is the incumbent starter at point guard, though he is only under contract for two additional seasons."

Sheppard might not be ready to play right away, and his size means he will have to be a really good defender. There's no reason why Sheppard can't be that elite defender, but he isn't there yet. He'll need to develop a lot with whichever team that drafts him.

Given where the Rockets are, it may not be in their best interest to take a prospect like Sheppard with the third overall pick. It's entirely possible he wouldn't even crack the rotation should he join the Rockets, so if the front office is going to bring Sheppard to Houston, it's because they believe in his ability to learn and develop at a fast pace.

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Jeremy Brener

JEREMY BRENER

Jeremy Brener is an editor, writer and social media manager for several Fan Nation websites. His work has also been featured in 247 Sports and SB Nation as a writer and podcaster. Brener has been with Fan Nation since 2021. Brener grew up in Houston, going to Astros, Rockets and Texans games as a kid. He moved to Orlando in 2016 to go to college and pursue a degree. He hosts "The Dream Take" podcast covering the Rockets, which has produced over 350 episodes since March 2020. Brener graduated in May 2020 from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism minoring in Sport Business Management. While at UCF, Brener worked for the school's newspaper NSM.today and "Hitting the Field," a student-run sports talk show and network. He was the executive producer for "Hitting the Field" from 2019-20. During his professional career, Brener has covered a number of major sporting events including the Pro Bowl, March Madness and several NBA and NFL games. As a fan, Brener has been to the 2005 World Series, 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 NCAA National Championship between the Villanova Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels. Now, Brener still resides in the Central Florida area and enjoys writing, watching TV, hanging out with friends and going to the gym. Brener can be followed on Twitter @JeremyBrener. For more inquiries, please email jeremybrenerchs@gmail.com.