Houston Rockets: NBA Draft trades for picks 23 and 24 - #4: The pick-less four
The four teams without a 2021 draft pick are a rank all to themselves. The Heat, Trail Blazers, Mavericks, and Timberwolves could all make an offer for one of the Rockets' late-round picks but it’s unlikely any would seriously intrigue the Rockets.
It stands to reason none of these teams would offer a future first-round pick for the 23rd or 24th pick which means their most realistic avenue is to trade a player currently on their roster. The Rockets, in the first year of a rebuild, will want rising players in any deal.
Houston Rockets NBA Draft trade with the Miami Heat
Precious Achiuwa could interest the Rockets as a defensive-minded complement to Christian Wood. He split time between power forward and center and should be a more natural fit next to Wood than he was next to Bam Adebayo. In fact, Adebayo and Achiuwa only shared the floor for seven minutes last season.
Achiuwa had a solid rookie season and is a capable back-up to Adebayo but the Heat are a win-now team. It makes more sense for them to find a player that compliments Adebayo and the 23rd or 24th pick could offer them that chance. Achiuwa, right now, is a backup and it isn’t difficult or expensive to find one.
The only question for the Rockets is if they think they can find a better prospect at 23rd or 24th? Achiuwa was the 20th pick last season and defensive-minded frontcourt players are a dime a dozen. Unless the Heat attach future picks, this deal probably won’t be enough.
Houston Rockets NBA Draft trade with the Portland Trail Blazers
The 23rd pick in the 2021 NBA Draft was the Trail Blazers’. It ended up in Houston via the Robert Covington trade. Swinging a deal to get their pick back would be a tough pill to swallow for the Trail Blazers but one they may opt to make if they believe Damian Lillard is as good as gone.
The Trail Blazers are not brimming with young talent and Anfernee Simons is their best asset to get back into the draft. He was the 24th pick in the 2018 draft and only just turned 22. He is brutal defensively but can hit threes. Simply put, Simons is not a good player.
Chances are the Rockets think they can find a better player who isn’t a year away from free agency. If the Blazers attach a future second-round pick that might be enough to get the Rockets' attention. The second round is based on record. If the Blazers are forced to trade Damian Lillard, the Rockets could end up with a pick in the low 30s and Simons.
Houston Rockets NBA Draft trade with the Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks are a win-now team but outside of Luka Doncic, they don’t have much youth to speak of. The fact that Tyrell Terry is their best option is evidence enough. Let’s keep it simple. Terry played 56 minutes last season. He was the 31st pick in the 2020 NBA draft. Outside of multiple second-round picks being included, there’s not much the Mavericks can offer that the Rockets would want.
Houston Rockets NBA Draft trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves
Jarrett Culver was the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Thus far, based upon multiple advanced metrics, Culver has been one of the worst players in his draft class. He’s a shooting guard who is now behind Anthony Edwards, the 2020 first overall pick, on Minnesota’s depth chart.
If Culver is going to turn his career around he needs to get out of Minnesota, who are, bizarrely, trying to win now. Flipping the 24th pick for a former lottery pick is a gamble but it’s the type of risk that the Rockets should be receptive to.