3 prospects the Rockets should consider in the 2021 NBA Draft

2019 NBA Draft board (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Draft board (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Corey Kispert #24 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs (Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets target #2: Corey Kispert, Small Forward, Gonzaga

Corey Kispert is a 6’7” and 220-pound small forward who is in his senior year at Gonzaga. Kispert has been climbing the draft boards recently, thanks to his stellar play during his senior year for the Bulldogs. There have been many analysts who are predicting Ziaire Williams to be drafted ahead of Kispert in the upcoming draft, so the Houston Rockets taking the Gonzaga forward would be a great consolation prize.

As outlined earlier, the Rockets have a void at the small forward position that needs to be addressed. Kispert has really good size with his frame, which will allow him to be more than just a catch-and-shoot player at the NBA level.

In the modern NBA, 3-point shooting is a necessity and Kispert is arguably the best shooter in college basketball. The Rockets are currently fourth in 3-point attempts in the league and are converting them at 35.2 percent, which is good for just 23rd in the league.

Drafting Kispert can address the shooting woes the team is facing this season while also giving them a dynamic look on the offensive end.

Strengths of Corey Kispert

Prior to diving into the specific areas of strength, it is noteworthy to mention that Kispert’s idol at the NBA level is Klay Thompson, as he draws inspiration from the Warriors’ All-Star guard.

“The way he moves without the ball is just special,” Kispert said in a previous interview. “He’s like the highest ceiling, the gold standard for me as a player.”

With that being said, the greatest strength of Kispert is his shooting efficiency. In his 2020-21 campaign with the Gonzaga Bulldogs, Kispert is attempting 6.2 3-point field goals per game and converting them at a 48.3-percent clip.

Unlike your stereotypical 3-point shooters that we are used to seeing in today’s modern NBA, Kispert can move effectively without the ball. What makes Klay Thompson such a great player on the offensive end is his ability to score from anywhere on the court. Approximately half of Kispert’s field goal attempts are inside the 3-point line and he can convert these at nearly a 65 percent clip.

With his current age, Kispert will be 22-years-old by the time the NBA draft comes around. This can be interpreted in both a positive and negative light.

As a strength, Kispert being a senior allows him to be NBA ready without the transition being an obstacle for him. He is mature and his game translates extremely well for any team. He is currently averaging 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game on 71.6 percent true shooting.

Weaknesses of Corey Kispert

Let’s take the opposite stance regarding Kispert’s age being a weakness. At 22-years-old, his body has already gone though a lot more mileage compared to other draft prospects.

While it isn’t a major area of concern, it is something to consider given the Houston Rockets are looking to get younger. Another area of weakness is his lack of defensive abilities.

Kispert has shown issues with his lack of verticality and inability to move laterally, which has led him to getting beaten by opponents often.

In addition, his lack of athleticism can lead him to a limited role once he goes pro. He doesn’t have a quick first step and while his strengths are shooting, Kispert isn’t exactly known for his handle to make himself a serious threat once he puts the ball down on the court.

Nonethless, he isn’t completely one-dimensional either. 3-and-D guys aren’t asked to initiate the offense. Unless Kispert looks completely unplayable on defense, which shouldn’t be the case given his size and frame, we can expect him to play a solid role on teams with a dire need of shooting.

Next: Draft prospect #1