Houston Rockets remain a complete mystery in recent mock drafts

Will the Houston Rockets select Reed Sheppard?
Will the Houston Rockets select Reed Sheppard? / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

As the NBA Draft approaches, consensus usually begins to crystalize. We begin to get an idea of who's likely to be selected where.

This year is different. To begin with, it's generally held to be a weak class. Moreover, two teams unexpectedly found their way into the top 3: the Atlanta Hawks, and the Houston Rockets.

We're here to talk about what the Rockets might do. Yet, the Hawks have the top selection - their decision could impact the Rockets' range of choices. Rumors have linked the Hawks to Donovan Clingan. Alexandre Sarr is generally perceived as the most popular choice at 1.

Could the Hawks go rogue? Could they look to trade down - possibly with the Rockets? The Rockets are a win-now team. Will they look to trade out of the draft altogether for some veteran help?

So many questions, and so few answers. A couple of recent mock drafts didn't help clarify matters.

Houston Rockets linked to two different prospects

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer has the Rockets selecting Reed Sheppard.

That's a popular choice for Houston. The Rockets were one of the poorest shooting teams in the NBA last year, and Sheppard is the best shooting prospect in the class. This is an open-and-shut case, right?

Not so fast. Yahoo's Krysten Peek has the Rockets selecting Clingan.

By now, most publications have the Rockets choosing one of these two. Who knows? The Hawks could snatch Clingan up with the first pick. The Wizards would likely select Sarr, and the Rockets could pivot from Sheppard to select Zacharie Risacher.

Let's assume things go roughly according to plan. The Hawks take Sarr, and the Wizards grab Risacher. The Rockets are up next, and both Sheppard and Clingan are on the board.

What should they do?

Houston Rockets need to choose wisely

It's a tough call.

Drafting for fit with the third pick would be a cardinal sin. The Rockets shouldn't simply take Sheppard because he's such a strong shooter.

Yet, some would argue that he's got a higher ceiling than Clingan anyway. Outside of some nifty stationary passing, Clingan doesn't project to have a prominent offensive role in the NBA. By contrast, Sheppard could be such a knockdown shooter that his solid handle and burst allow him to be a primary ball-handler.

Sounds like we're leaning Sheppard, right? Honestly, we're not sure. Clingan may be a limited offensive player, but he seems almost assured to be a high-end rim protector in the NBA. In a weak draft, landing such a player third would be a blessing.

Sure, Clingan is a bad fit with Alperen Sengun. The Rockets can sort that out later. Think about it. The Hawks are apparently considering Clingan. Reports have indicated that the Spurs and Grizzlies could look to trade up for him. Everyone wants Clingan - why shouldn't the Rockets?

in the end, this won't be an easy decision. The Rockets need to block out the noise and select whoever they think is right for their future.

This year, we have no idea what they might do.