What the Rockets must do with the second overall pick

2019 NBA Draft board (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
2019 NBA Draft board (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

After a long, grueling 2020-21 season, the Houston Rockets were rewarded with the second overall pick in this month’s NBA Draft at the draft lottery. The Rockets faced a possibility of having to forfeit their pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder, as a result of the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook trade in 2019.

The Rockets managed to strike gold, as the top of this draft class is loaded with talent, ranging from Cade Cunningham to Evan Mobley to Jalen Green to Jalen Suggs. Most draft experts believe that Cunningham will be the first name called by the Detroit Pistons, as Cunningham is viewed as miles ahead of the rest of the class.

This means the Rockets will be in position to take a franchise-altering player at number two, which has caused a divide within the Rockets fanbase as to which player should be the pick.

What the Houston Rockets must do with the second overall pick

ESPN draft expert Mike Schmitz shared his thoughts on what the Rockets front office should do at #2 and gave his reasoning also on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

“Jalen Green. Now this isn’t a unanimous decision among NBA teams, but I think he has the most upside in the entire draft.

You’re talking about a 6’6 guard who can score at all three levels. He has absolute springs in his legs. He reminds me physically of a young Zach LaVine, who plays above the rim with force, with tenacity.

He’s extremely explosive. He’s effortless off the bounce.

And like I said, he can score at all three levels. He averaged 18 points a game in the G-League bubble. He can create space with the snatch-back move, that’s what you see from some of the NBA’s elite.

Just like a guard out of Washington, Bradley Beal, which has led the NBA in scoring, I think that’s exactly what we’re going to see from Jalen Green. Beal has the pull-back move and can create space.

When you have the legs and the physical ability of a Zach LaVine and the scoring ability of a Bradley Beal, I think if you’re Houston, you have to look long and hard at Jalen Green, a guy with that much star potential.”

Green was ESPN’s top ranked prospect out of high school in 2020, in a class that included Suggs, Cunningham, and Mobley, but opted to attend the G-League’s Ignite as opposed to going to college, unlike the others. Green averaged roughly 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists with the Ignite, while also shooting 36.5% from three and posting true shooting splits of 61.3%.

Regardless of whether Green falls at #2 to the Houston Rockets, the fact that he’s viewed as a LaVine/Beal combination means we should expect him to be a star in the league for years to come.

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