After a horrific season under first-year head coach Stephen Silas, the Houston Rockets were officially awarded the second overall pick on Tuesday in next month’s NBA Draft. While it’s unfortunate they just missed out on the top pick, which is expected to be Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham, there are still going to be some very solid options.
Here are three players the Rockets can target at No. 2 overall.
3. Jalen Green
Jalen Green went a more unconventional route and opted to skip college to play in the G-League last season. That decision certainly paid off, with the 19-year-old averaging 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 37% shooting from downtown. At 6 foot 6 and 180 lbs, the youngster is a fluid scorer who can create his own shot on a consistent basis.
After James Harden left the Rockets, they really failed to have a legitimate guard who can initiate the offense. John Wall is likely on his way out so this is definitely a big need for the organization. Green already has experience playing against professional opponents and he clearly thrived in doing so.
His ability to shoot the ball but also get to the hoop at will and rise above would be a valuable asset for the Rockets. Although his facilitating numbers haven’t been the greatest, it’s a part of Green’s game that could improve at the NBA level as he becomes a more all-around shooting guard.
This is definitely a player that Houston will be keeping an eye on.
2. Jalen Suggs
Jalen Suggs just fell short of leading Gonzaga to a National Championship after losing to Baylor in the title game. But, he showed throughout March Madness why he’s projected to be one of the top picks in the 2021 NBA Draft and a player the Rockets should be watching.
Suggs is truly an all-around package. He’s an explosive athlete who is quick and shifty with the rock in his hands. Suggs best asset though is his unselfishness. The Zags star makes everyone around him better thanks to the high-level facilitating abilities he brings to the table. Suggs can read a defense like nobody’s business and that could have something to do with him being a a star quarterback in high school, too.
The Rockets need a guard and if they decided to go this route, they would likely decide between Suggs and Green. The Gonzaga phenom averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists last season for Mark Few’s team and truly showed everything you’d want to see if a floor general.
This could be a brilliant pick for the Rockets.
1. Evan Mobley
Considering that USC big man Evan Mobley is currently projected to go number two overall, this seems like the pick that the Rockets might go with. Although Houston already has Christian Wood at the five, either having Mobley back him up or potentially join Wood in the Rockets frontcourt would be intimidating.
Mobley was a monster for the Trojans in his freshman year, collecting numerous accolades including Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year. He’s a legitimate two-way big man who could be a serious threat at the NBA level.
Alongside his brother Isaiah, Mobley put up 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.9 blocks per contest last season. At 7-feet and 215 lbs, his length and physicality were too much to handle for most college programs. But despite his size, Mobley is athletic and mobile which is a massive benefit in today’s game.
He can operate in the pick and roll very nicely and also profiles as a terrific rim-runner. The Rockets could use basically any help they can get right now. Putting him at power forward and pairing him with Wood is a possible idea in the long run but even just having Mobley back up their main man in his rookie year would be an option as well.
The Houston Rockets have several options in the 2021 NBA Draft. Mobley could be the best of the lot that could make a quick impact.