3 Historical comparisons for Houston Rockets rookie Reed Sheppard

What kind of player will Houston Rockets rookie Reed Sheppard be?
What kind of player will Houston Rockets rookie Reed Sheppard be? / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Some NBA prospects are easier to project than others. Some skillsets and physical characteristics can make for a complicated profile. What will this player be?

That's what the Houston Rockets are wondering about Reed Sheppard. He was the third overall pick in the most recent NBA Draft. Yet, it's not clear what Sheppard will become.

We know he's a historically great shooting prospect. Sheppard shot 52.5% from long-range for Kentucky last season. He also averaged a remarkable 2.5 steals per game.

Does that mean he'll be a strong defender? It's hard to say - Sheppard is a small guard. There are also questions about whether he'll be a primary ball-handler at the NBA level.

So, it helps to give a range of possible outcomes for Sheppard. That's what we'll do here. Here's a floor, median and ceiling pro comparison for Sheppard.

Floor: Buddy Hield

Disclaimer: comparisons will not be perfect.

Hield is a notoriously low-effort defender. That won't be the case for Sheppard. He's going to try - whether he succeeds or not.

Let's assume that, in spite of his efforts, Sheppard can't become a positive defender. Let's also assume that he isn't much of a ball-handler - remember, this is a floor comparison. He can still be Buddy Hield.

It could be worse. Sheppard is likely to have tremendous three-point gravity. He'll warp defenses just by standing behind the line. Still, the Rockets will hope he can do more than that.

Median: Derrick White

Height can be surprisingly controversial around the NBA.

Sheppard is generally seen as a small guard. He's listed 6'3". That's not so small - it's only an inch shorter than Derrick White. Doesn't it feel like Sheppard is more than an inch shorter than White?

Either way, this is another imperfect comparison. Sheppard should be a better shooter than White in his prime, and he probably won't be on White's level defensively. Broadly speaking, we're just saying that Sheppard could have a similar two-way impact to White.

More specifically, we're saying that he can be a guard in White's prototype. He mostly plays off the ball but is capable of attacking a closeout. Sheppard can fulfill that role even if he doesn't develop much as a playmaker.

What if he does?

Ceiling: Mark Price

We considered Steve Nash here. We'll be frank: Nash is one of the best offensive players in NBA history. Let's not say Sheppard can't reach that level, but we're trying to stay grounded here.

Price is still an ambitious target. In 1992-93, Price averaged 18.2 points and 8.0 assists per game while shooting 41.6% from long-range. Price was ahead of his time: he leveraged elite shooting and a high feel for the game to be a primary playmaker.

That's a best-case scenario for Sheppard. He's a smart passer, but he does need to tighten his handle. If he can...

Who knows what he could be?