Pick #3 29th overall: TyTy Washington (Guard, Kentucky)
TyTy Washington was the 14th ranked high school recruit in his class, produced solid statistics in the SEC, and still found himself falling down draft boards. If Washington had gone in the lottery, that would have likely been a reach, but at the very end of the first round, it’s excellent value for the Rockets.
Washington isn’t large, listed as 6’3, but he should be able to handle point guard duties and play off the ball in the NBA. He’ll likely enter the season as the Rockets' backup point guard which is an excellent place for him to grow his game.
He also offers the franchise some insurance if the Kevin Porter Jr point guard experiment goes bust, or if they can’t work out an extension. The best teams draft players to replace their soon-to-be free agents, and the Rockets may have done just that.
The secret value in selecting TyTy Washington is the track record of Kentucky guards in the NBA under John Calipari. The list of quality NBA guards that played under Calipari is as long as it is impressive, but curiously those players routinely performed better in the NBA than in the NCAA.
If TyTy can continue that trend, then the Rockets will have landed an impact player with the 29th pick. Even if he doesn’t best his college production, he’ll still be a solid NBA guard, and that’s worth a B+ at this stage of the draft.
Houston Rockets 2022 NBA Draft Overall Grade
The Rockets had an excellent overall draft. They pulled off the difficult trick of addressing areas of need without reaching. They also turned the 26th pick into TyTy Washington and two future second-round picks. While nabbing Paolo Banchero at three would have been an A+, getting the best player available at three shouldn’t be viewed as a letdown.
This makes two consecutive drafts where the Rockets have made a killing. Rafael Stone has Tilman Fertitta’s blessing to take it slow, but with the way he’s drafting, the Rockets will have liftoff sooner rather than later.