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Josh Christopher Became Rockets Gem Outside 2021 Draft Lottery

Josh Christopher established himself as a vital piece of the Houston Rockets' rebuild despite falling short of the draft lottery.

HOUSTON — Prospects entering the 2022 NBA Draft will watch the lottery Tuesday night with a close eye. The league will reveal the order of the draft at the NBA Combine in Chicago. 

The Houston Rockets are entering the lottery with the highest odds of coming away with the No. 1 overall pick — general manager Rafael Stone will represent the organization. 

The lottery will give inferior teams the first chance to acquire the draft's most sought-after talents. But each draft features a handful of hidden gems that fell under the radar during the scouting season.

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"You just gotta put your head down and work," Josh Christopher said during the unveiling of the renovations at the Moody Community Center on Thursday. "That whole month from college to the NBA is a grind. Shoutout to all of these players who are grinding at this very moment."

The Rockets made Christopher their final selection (No. 24) of the 2021 NBA Draft. Houston's draft pick of Christopher appeared as a reach to some, but the one-year prospect from Arizona State used the combined to enhance his second-round projection.

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Christopher established himself as a hidden gem through the 74 games he played with the Rockets. After a brief three-game stint in the G-League, Christopher averaged 7.9 points on 44.8 percent shooting from the field as a rookie.

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Christopher closed his rookie season on a tear alongside Jalen Green by eclipsing 20 points or more five times. Christopher's play is a testament that talents can be discovered throughout the draft, regardless of the selection.

"I wasn't even in the rotation to start the year — I was just watching while cheering my teammates on," Christopher said. "It wasn't until around my birthday is when things started to change. I got the opportunity to get a really good feel of the NBA game."

In addition to Christopher and Green, the Rockets had one of the best draft classes in 2021 with the acquisition of Alperen Sengun and Usman Garuba.