Houston Rockets select dominant big man in two recent mock drafts

Should the Houston Rockets draft Donovan Clingan?
Should the Houston Rockets draft Donovan Clingan? / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

There are different approaches to the NBA Draft. Some swear by the edict of "best player available". They'll suggest that you should never consider a prospect's fit with the rest of your roster.

When you're among the worst teams in the league, that's undeniable. Nothing is working, so why would you plan around what you're doing at the moment? On the other hand, a .500 team that finds itself in the lottery has a more difficult decision to make.

That's the position that the Houston Rockets find themselves in. They just finished a .500 season, but they'll have a lottery pick coming from the Brooklyn Nets anyway. Should they draft for the best player available, or for fit?

Are there any answers between those two extremes? A team's needs and fit are different concepts. For example, the Rockets could use a rim protector, but with Alperen Sengun's unique offensive impact, they likely won't be starting a traditional one any time soon.

Two recent mock drafts have them selecting a traditional rim protector anyway.

Houston Rockets predicted to select defensive big

Bleacher Report has the Rockets selecting Donovan Clingan of Connecticut with the 9th overall pick in their latest mock. So does CBS Sports.

We've discussed this before. Clingan is an intriguing fit with this roster. He looks like the best rim protector in his class, and the Rockets are lacking in that area.

At the same time, Clingan is most likely to be a drop coverage rim protector. Bleacher Report lists Rudy Gobert as his pro comparison. That's not a good fit with Sengun - especially if neither develops into a reliable shooter.

Even if Sengun develops a three, a frontcourt duo of Sengun and Clingan is likely too slow and lumbering. It will be exploited by downhill guards on the perimeter. With that in mind, Jabari Smith Jr. would be a better defensive fit alongside either big man with his ability to contain wings on the perimeter.

Does that mean the Rockets should avoid Clingan?

Houston Rockets should consider drafting best player available

Let's think about this.

Suppose Sengun tops out as a supercharged Domantas Sabonis. Now, imagine that Clingan is comparable to Gobert. Finally, imagine that Houston has both on their roster.

That's a rich person's problem. The Rockets will suddenly have a pair of diametrically opposite big men. They can choose which direction to lean into.

That's not to say that Clingan is a must-get for the Rockets. If they're convinced that Sengun is the 5 of the future, they may prefer to grab a more complimentary player with their pick. Still, they shouldn't take Clingan off the table:

He might be the best player available.