Houston Rockets Draft Profile: Paolo Banchero

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Sweet 16 - San Francisco
NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - Sweet 16 - San Francisco / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

We previously spoke about Jabari Smith's potential role and impact on this team full of young talent, but another name to keep an eye on is Duke's Paolo Banchero who is also projected to be a top-three pick in this year's draft.

Related. Houston Rockets Draft Profile: Jabari Smith. dark

Banchero, a 6'10 Forward, had a great argument for being the top pick in the draft entering the collegiate season, but as the season went on his stock seemed to plummet because of being labeled as only a scorer. Many scouts have compared him to the likes of Blake Griffin and Julius Randle in terms of athletic ability, but an argument can be made that as a true freshman he has tools that those guys lack.

His athleticism and mobility have always been his bread and butter, but what many fail to see is his progression as a three-level scorer. The shooting form and shot mechanics have been displayed all season, but in this year's NCAA Tournament he is using his footwork to his advantage to create his own shot off the dribble.

As an already efficient scorer, Banchero's 21 points per game would seemingly fit into the Rocket's young core, but there are some who think Banchero needs the ball to be effective in coach Silas's five-out offense.

Jalen Green is emerging as the next superstar of the team following the ugly departure of James Harden and is now receiving the keys to the offense after the team decided to rest its veteran players. Along with Green, players such as Porter Jr. also needs the ball in his hands to be effective so there is a reason to be somewhat concerned with the fit.

However, the Rockets shouldn't be drafting for fit as the team needs all the star power it can get since the Thunder have control of their draft picks from 2024 to 2026. The Rockets need to take the talent and worry about the fit later.

Even if there are concerns with Banchero's off the ball ability he has shown to be a versatile defender, guarding both the perimeter and the post. He is also an underrated shot blocker averaging 2.1 blocks per game. Something the Rocket's need desperately.

He has also shown flashes as a good passer, especially at his size. If the Rockets do draft Banchero, fans shouldn't be subdued about the idea of Green having the ball less, they should be ecstatic about the idea of another three-level scorer to take some of the load off of Green.

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