The Houston Rockets have another first-round pick after trading Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks. They have the 26th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft along with the third and 17th picks.
Houston is experiencing the good problem to have of being in control of too many good picks. The Rockets already have a plethora of young players to try to develop. Keeping their third overall pick and adding one of Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. or Paolo Banchero is a no-brainer.
After that, though, the options are not very strong. The Rockets will get more value out of the 26th pick if they trade it. Whether they package it to move up or use it to get a more experienced player, Houston should be able to find plenty of trade possibilities.
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3 best Rockets trades after acquiring No. 26 pick in 2022 NBA Draft
3. Trade up
The best use of the Rockets' extra pick is to use it to trade up. With so many other youngsters to feed, adding several other young players and giving them the proper time to develop may prove to be tough. Packaging picks 17 and 26 would be a worthwhile consolidation of draft picks. They should prioritize quality over quantity.
The Rockets could offer their 17th and 26th picks to teams like the Washington Wizards or New York Knicks, who each only have one first-rounder and are drafting 10th and 11th respectively. Moving out of the lottery may be a tough sell but giving out another first-rounder may entice a team to do so.
If the Rockets can't find anyone willing to trade up with just those two picks, they should add future draft capital into the deal and aim a little higher than just outside of the top 10.
The Rockets could trade the 26th pick, their 2024 second-round pick and David Nwaba to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Matisse Thybulle.
Although Thybulle is limited offensively, his defense is among the very best in the league. His hustle and ability to disrupt passing lanes would instantly earn him a spot in the Rockets' rotation. As a wing opposite of Jalen Green, the two youngsters complement each other well.
The Sixers, meanwhile, are looking to trade Thybulle and other players to build a strong team around Joel Embiid. Receiving an additional first-round pick, as well as another in the second round, may give them some more appealing trade sweeteners than someone who was rendered nearly useless in the playoffs.
It may seem counterintuitive for the Rockets to add Thybulle after his dismal playoffs but they have to take it step-by-step. They can worry about his shooting after they prove they can win in the regular season. Because of his unreal defense, Thybulle can certainly help with that.
1. OG Anunoby
In what would be a massive trade, the Rockets could obtain OG Anunoby while sending Eric Gordon, the 17th and 26th picks and at least one more future first-rounder to the Toronto Raptors.
The Rockets should not give up their third overall pick in this year's draft for Anunoby despite his immense talent. They could still offer Toronto multiple firsts in this year's NBA Draft as well as future ones. They will be especially happy to land within the range of the draft that gives them intriguing prospects at the center position to choose from. Not only that, but they will also add a veteran sharpshooter to their lineup.
For Houston, Anunoby would be a fantastic addition. The 24-year-old's scoring and defense would be extremely useful. He could slide in at either forward spot and grow alongside the young players that the Rockets have. His production has only grown with each year he has played. Sacrificing draft picks for a young player on the brink of stardom is a worthwhile investment.