Houston Rockets: 5 NBA draft prospects worth trading up for

James Piercey
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Jalen Green #4 of the G League Ignite brings the ball up the floor during a G-League game against the Westchester Knicks at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on February 18, 2021 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 18: Jalen Green #4 of the G League Ignite brings the ball up the floor during a G-League game against the Westchester Knicks at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on February 18, 2021 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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Houston Rockets, NBA Draft
Usman Garuba of Real Madrid (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)

Houston Rockets: NBA draft prospect to trade up for Usam Garuba

Forward/Center, Real Madrid (Spain)/ Projected: 21st, High: 15th, Low: 27th

Garuba becomes particularly attractive to the Rockets if we make two assumptions. First, we assume the Rockets select Jalen Green with the second overall pick. Then, we assume the Rockets enter the 2021-22 NBA season with Christian Wood as their starting center.

If both of these assumptions hold, the Rockets are going to need defense and Garuba provides more of it than any prospect in this draft besides, well, Evan Mobley. More than any prospect named in this article so far, Garuba could potentially slot into Silas’ starting lineup sooner than later.

Related Story. 3 late-round possibilities in the 2021 NBA Draft

He should instantly be effective off the bench, primarily backing up the four spot while also anchoring small ball lineups for stretches at the five. At 6’8, 230 pounds with a great wingspan and quick feet, Garuba should be able to hold his own whether he’s protecting the rim or defending the perimeter.

He also plays with an infectious energy that should result in symmetry with a similarly hardworking, versatile defender in Jae’Sean Tate. Garuba is the kind of role player that every contender needs on their roster, and he may also be ready to make an immediate contribution to a young squad vying to improve off of a disastrous 2020-21 season. Given the opportunity, Garuba could prove worthy of the 23rd and 24th pick, and then some.

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