Have the Houston Rockets gotten the most value in the league in the draft?

Tari Eason was a high value choice for the Houston Rockets at 17
Tari Eason was a high value choice for the Houston Rockets at 17 / Alex Bierens de Haan/GettyImages

The NBA Draft is one tool in an NBA general manager's toolbox.

There are other ways to build a team. Still, many argue that the draft is the best avenue for acquiring talent. When a team drafts a player, they're cost-controlled for the foreseeable future. Moreover, drafting a core allows a team to develop the chemistry between their players.

That's all good news for the Houston Rockets. Over the last several seasons, they've been building through the draft.

According to Kevin Pelton of ESPN, no team has added more value that way.

Have the Houston Rockets drafted best in the league?

There may not be much room for debate here.

Pelton is using his own criteria. He doesn't expose his empirical method in this piece but rest assured that he has one. This man has crunched numbers to come to this conclusion.

A different methodology may yield a different result. If you feel that another team has done better in the draft, that's reasonable. Still, the assertion that the Rockets have been among the best drafting teams in the Stone era is irrefutable.

How have they done it?

Houston Rockets getting value on the margins

Acquiring top-end talent in the lottery is easy. Arguably, it's where the Rockets have had the hardest time.

Was Jalen Green the right selection in 2021? It's still up for debate, but at the time, Evan Mobley was closer to the consensus pick. To this point, he's also been the more impactful player.

By contrast, Jabari Smith Jr. was the firm consensus with the third pick in 2022. Still, other players in his class have outperformed him so far. How could it be that the Rockets have ruled the draft if they arguably made two wrong lottery picks?

Alperen Sengun, Tari Eason, and Cam Whitmore. Each member of that trio has looked like a lottery-level talent at times in their career, and each was picked outside of the lottery. Now, the Rockets have a young group of six players to mold their future around.

Give him his credit: Rafael Stone has used his tools well.