2. Drafting Josh Christopher over Quentin Grimes
Rafael Stone has been rather brilliant when drafting outside of the lottery, as the Rockets GM selected Alperen Sengun with the 16th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft followed by Tari Eason with the 17th pick just one year later.
Stone also drafted TyTy Washington with the 29th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and although he's been passed around like a cigarette, the kid has talent. It's obvious.
Stone also nabbed Kenyon Martin Jr. in the second-round in the 2020 NBA Draft. Again, Stone has been money when drafting outside of the lottery.
Hell, this year Stone nabbed Cam Whitmore, a lottery talent, with the 20th pick. The man knows how to draft.
Which makes the Josh Christopher selection in the 2021 Draft a bit perplexing. Christopher was chosen with the 24th pick, and based on the players selected after JayGup, it's safe to say that's a decision Stone wouldn't make again if he had a do-over.
This is because Quentin Grimes was still on the board, along with Bones Hyland, Cam Thomas, and even Herb Jones, to a lesser degree. The vision was clear - Stone wanted a wing who could serve as a point of attack defender.
Christopher was 19-years-old at the time, and seemed like the youngest player with the highest upside. But when a player has raw talent and untapped potential, they have to get reps.
The Rockets were entering the 2021-22 season with Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, and Eric Gordon at the wing spot. Meaning Christopher, who was largely unproven, wasn't going to garner much playing time.
This wouldn't have been as big of an issue with more of a proven player, like Grimes, who was already 21-years-old and ready to contribute right away. Grimes went to the New York Knicks and averaged 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 38.1 percent from deep on 4.1 attempts.
In Grimes' second season, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 38.6 percent from three (5.7 attempts), and 61.9 percent true shooting.
Christopher, on the other hand, saw a decline in playing time, as he averaged 18 minutes as a rookie and 12.3 minutes in 2022-23. The Rockets ultimately traded Christopher two years after drafting him in the first-round.