HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets do not hold the top selection in the 2022 NBA Draft, but the franchise could still come away with their most desirable prospect.
Since the start of the draft season, the rumor mill has been heavy on the idea of the Rockets drafting Paolo Banchero with the No. 3 pick. And a source told Rockets Insider that Houston is interested in the forward from Duke.
Unless the Orlando Magic or Oklahoma City Thunder snags Banchero before Houston's selection, all signs point towards the ACC Rookie of the Year winner joining the Rockets on June 23 inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. And according to the Houston Chronicle, Banchero to the Rockets is becoming more realistic.
Banchero is entering the draft after leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four. He averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds during his lone season at Duke.
"Will it be Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith, or Paolo Banchero," Rockets beat reporter Jonathan Feigen said. "Paulo Banchero — come on down. I think he’s going to be okay as a switch defender, at 6-10, 255 (pounds). “You don’t see that a lot. It remains to be seen how he will be off the ball."
Holmgren is the projected top prospect entering the draft. Most NBA mock drafts have the versatile big man going second to the Thunder — with the Magic taking Smith with the No. 1 overall pick.
The Rockets rebuild received a significant boost last year with the selection of Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Green appeared in 67 games as a rookie, where he recorded 17.3 points on 42.6 percent shooting from the field.