Houston Rockets: predicting Reed Sheppard's stats in 2024-25

How will Reed Sheppard produce in his first season with the Houston Rockets?
How will Reed Sheppard produce in his first season with the Houston Rockets? / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Everyone wants to see a lottery pick make a big impact in their NBA rookie season.

That may not be feasible for a rookie on the Houston Rockets. Yes, they selected Reed Sheppard with the third overall pick this year. Generally, being picked third comes with instant expectations.

The Rockets are not your typical high-lottery team. This pick came via the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets were a .500 team in 2023-24, and they'll be looking to improve in 2024-25. Sheppard won't have the same high-usage runway that some third-overall picks have received.

What kind of numbers should we expect from him?

How productive will Sheppard be for the Houston Rockets?

We're earmarking Sheppard for Aaron Holiday's role. In other words, the Rockets could re-sign Holiday at any moment and make this entire thought experiment moot.

For the time being, let's assume Sheppard slides into Holiday's spot. Here's Holiday's basic statistical profile from 2023-24.

Aaron Holiday (2023-24)

16.3 minutes per game
6.6 points per game
1.8 assists per game
0.5 steals per game
2.6 2PA per game (51.0%)
2.8 3PA per game (38.7%)

Let's assume that Sheppard gets a couple more minutes per game - he is the third-overall pick, after all. We'll put him at 18.3 minutes per contest.

Sheppard is likely to shoot the three a little more often and attempt twos a bit less. We're generally going to assume that he functions more as a three-point specialist, which should mean less ball-handling than Holiday provided. At the same time, Sheppard is a crafty passer - especially in transition.

Assists per game may be roughly a wash. Where Sheppard can separate himself from the veteran he's replacing is in defensive playmaking. He should rack up steals - it won't be as easy as it was in college, but his quick hands will serve him well in the NBA.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN projects Sheppard to shoot 39.0% from deep as a rookie. Who are we to argue? With that in mind, here are our predictions for Sheppard's rookie year.

Reed Sheppard (Rookie Year Predictions)

18.3 minutes per game
6.8 points per game
2.0 assists per game
0.8 steals per game
2.0 2PA per game (49.0%)
3.8 3PA per game (39.0%)

Did we use a sound scientific method here? Not exactly.

There are too many unaccounted-for variables to be scientific. If Jalen Green struggles leading up to the deadline, Sheppard could be starting by the end of the year.

Otherwise, this may feel like an underwhelming projection. Remember: the Rockets have arguably the highest volume of high-potential young players in the NBA. Ime Udoka is running a meritocracy. Sheppard will have to earn every minute he gets as a rookie:

No matter where he was drafted.