HOUSTON — The NBA draft season is now in full swing.
The NBA revealed the order of the 2022 NBA Draft Tuesday afternoon during the lottery in Chicago. The Houston Rockets fell short of the top overall selection for the second consecutive year by obtaining the No. 3 pick. The Orlando Magic won the lottery for the first time since 2004.
Not having first dibs on the top draft prospects may be disappointing for some organizations. But general manager Rafael Stone believes the Rockets are in a great situation to continue adding talent to their young core.
"I think it does not matter if we pick third or by trading the pick, we are going to be a more talented team this coming season," Stone said following the results of the lottery. "It's an exciting time for the organization, and we are extremely happy."
Last year the Rockets entered the 2022 NBA Draft with the No. 2 selection. Houston used their top pick on Jalen Green, who became the first prospect drafted from the G-League Ignite.
Green appeared in 67 games as a rookie, where he recorded 17.3 points on 42.6 percent shooting from the field. Despite missing out on the top overall pick, the Rockets had arguably the best draft class with the selections of Alperen Sengun, Usman Garuba and Josh Christopher.
Rockets 2021 Draft Class
Jalen Green and Stephen Silas
The Detroit Pistons landed the top overall selection last year, where the franchise took Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State.
Despite acquiring a solid foundation to speed up the rebuilding process, the Rockets will remain focused on obtaining the best player available over the most suitable fit.
"I think you always have to go with the best player available," Stone said. "It's our job to win championships. When picking this high in the draft, the goal is to find someone who can be the cornerstone of your franchise."
Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga is the projected top prospect entering the draft. But A source told Rockets Insider that Houston is interested in forward Paolo Banchero, who averaged 17.2 points and 7.8 rebounds during his lone season at Duke.
According to ESPN's latest mock draft, Banchero is projected to be selected by the Rockets at pick No. 3.