Should the Houston Rockets trade up in the draft?: The verdict
The arguments for trading up or keeping the 23rd and 24th picks both have merit. The Rockets’ roster is old and lacks talent across the board. However, the answer to what the Rockets should do has everything to do with their other first-round pick.
By virtue of having the worst record in the league, the Rockets’ own first-round pick will land somewhere in the top-five. If the pick lands at five, which has a 47.9-percent chance of happening, then the pick is swapped with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Rockets receive the 18th pick in the draft.
In the scenario where the Rockets have the 18th, 23rd, and 24th pick, the Rockets absolutely should look to move up in the draft. Now, if the pick lands somewhere in the top-four and the Rockets keep the pick, then using the 23rd or 24th picks to move up becomes a different discussion.
Depending on where the Rockets’ top-four pick lands their needs suddenly change. If they get the number one overall pick then holding onto both picks to help round the roster suddenly becomes a lot more attractive.
If they land the fourth pick and select a good but not highly probable superstar then packaging the 23rd and 24th pick to try and land another impact player makes much more sense. At the end of the day, it’s probably best for the Rockets to try and package their late first-round picks to move up.
As the NBA playoffs are showing, high-end talent wins. The Rockets find themselves light in that department and until it changes they’ll be watching the playoffs from their couches.