The 2021 draft could make or break the Houston Rockets‘ future. Saddled with the worst record in the league the Rockets need an infusion of talent if they want to regain their status as a championship contender.
Due to the NBA draft lottery odds and a litany of trades the Rockets draft is far from a certain thing, which means their future quite literally relies on chance. The trade that landed the Rockets Russell Westbrook included a 2021 top-four protected first-round pick swap with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
If the pick lands in the top four the Rockets keep their pick, but if it falls to fifth, then their pick will be swapped with the lesser of the Miami Heat’s and Thunder’s pick. The Rockets, as part of the Robert Covington trade, also have the Portland Trail Blazers first-round pick, although it is top-14 protected.
It should be quickly noted that the Rockets also have the Detroit Pistons’ first-round pick, although it is top-17 protected. The Pistons have no chance of making the playoffs so this pick will have to wait to be conveyed.
The final first-round pick the Rockets own is a swap that will allow them to swap their second-round pick with the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick if it falls out of the top-10 as part of the P.J. Tucker trade. The Rockets also have the ability to swap picks with the Brooklyn Nets from the James Harden trade but it appears unlikely that activating it will yield a better draft position.
Now that the Rockets’ entire 2021 first-round is mapped out let’s take a look at the probability of the Rockets’ likeliest draft outcomes and then the best and worst-case scenarios for the franchise.
Next: The likeliest outcome