The 2022 NBA Draft is now just two days away and there is still some debate as to who could go number one overall to the Orlando Magic. Jabari Smith of Auburn looks like the best bet as of right now, but Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero are also in the mix. However, it appears the Duke standout wants to fall to No. 3 and get selected by the Houston Rockets because of a few different reasons.
Banchero is known to relish the opportunity to join the Houston Rockets at No. 3, sources said, while members of his representation are not ruling out the possibility the Duke freshman will end up with Oklahoma City. Banchero hails from Seattle and has several connections with Rockets general manager Rafael Stone, who is also a Seattle native. Banchero, sources told B/R, is further encouraged by potentially forming a scoring attack alongside Rockets sophomore guard Jalen Green, selected No. 2 in the 2021 draft.
It's all about feeling comfortable in your surroundings and the Rockets present that opportunity for Banchero. Stone is a Seattle native just like him which could help the Duke freshman feel at home in some sorts, while Jalen Green is another reason he'd like to land in Houston. The No. 2 pick from last year's draft already flashed star potential in his rookie year and the best is still yet to come from the high-flyer. Those two together could be lethal.
As for Banchero, he is arguably the most NBA-ready player out of the top three. The 19-year-old dominated for the Blue Devils, helping them advance all the way to the Final Four. His strength, physicality, and natural ability to score at all three levels should be an immediate hit at the professional level.
The Thunder could still take Banchero at second overall, but it's clear he's hoping for different. If the Rockets did manage to add him to the mix, they would truly have a solid young core in place as they look to turn things around in the near future.