Houston Rockets: 3 late-round possibilities in the 2021 NBA Draft

Adam Silver (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Adam Silver (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Jalen Johnson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Jalen Johnson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

3. Jalen Johnson

NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris

The Duke freshman was the standout star for the Blue Devils in their opening game vs. Coppin State. The 6-foot-9 small forward had a career game for most players in his first game.

Johnson scored 19 points while pulling down 19 rebounds in the win over the Eagles. After this game, expectations were high for Johnson, as it seemed like he would be the next great Duke player.

Unfortunately, a foot injury a few games into the season derailed Johnson’s early progress. But Johnson came back, and two games after his return put up a season-high 24 points vs. the Pittsburgh Panthers.

As you can see in the below video, Johnson has a great all-around game. He has great size, court vision, and strength finishing at the rim.

Johnson is also a good weakside shot blocker and at his size he can guard multiple positions. I am sure you wonder why someone with this much talent and potential would be on the board this late in the draft.

Johnson will probably still be on the board because he left Duke halfway through the season to prepare for the NBA Draft.

At the time, it was a hot topic on whether Johnson quit on the team or was doing what was best for his career. A lot of draft experts are saying this is the reason why Johnson is falling in most mock drafts.

This would play into the Houston Rockets’ favor because the Rockets could get a lottery talent outside the lottery. Of course, it’s a small sample size, and you would be basing your pick on potential, not necessarily a lot of game tape.

Johnson wasn’t a high-volume 3-point shooter, so his outside shooting is still a question mark as well, but you can see the skills and how he could affect the game in multiple areas. This is what makes Johnson so appealing.

Next: No. 2