The Rockets are going into the 2022 NBA Draft with the third overall pick. It seems like most people can agree who that player should be.
Is it too soon to say "Houston Rockets forward Paolo Banchero?" It doesn't feel too soon.
The 2022 NBA Draft Lottery results are in, and Rockets fans should be in extremely high spirits. It looked like they might slip out of the top three for a minute there, but getting in under the wire is all that it takes for this roster to get better.
The Rockets may not have their pick of the group or even the best player as it falls, but any of the top three forwards should fit with this roster like a glove, and it looks like the most likely guy to be available at three is Duke F Paolo Banchero.
Based on what it looks like so far, Jabari Smith should go with the top pick based on his ability to imrpove the quality of shooting for almost any team in the league. He would have been an excellent option to pair with Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr., but this isn't the end of the world.
Coming in at second, it looks like Chet Holmgren could go to the Thunder based on their desire to hit on the prospect with the most boom or bust potential. If Chet works out, he could be the steal of the draft and make the Thunder a quick contender alongside SGA.
If Holmgren slips to three, this wouldn't be a bad thing for the Rockets, but they should be more than happy if/when Banchero is there.
Banchero immediately brings way better size than Jae'Sean Tate and would allow the Rockets to put a much more traditional group on the floor. One would think that this could eventually help on defense against the bigger guys that Tate struggled against, even if this was one area where most scouts believed that Banchero wasn't as good as his counterparts.
As for the good, the Duke Forward is able to do everything well on the offensive end. He might not be the shooter from deep that Holmgren and Smith are, but he would still be an improvement over what Houston already had in that role.
Banchero is athletic, has a good range of shots and abilities to score, and he can work off the leading guys or do his own thing as needed. This guy is going to get his points in one way or another.
There is still time for draft news to change things, but it is probably time for Rockets fans to start imagining Banchero and Sengun working off one another in the paint; something that should be extremely difficult for defenses to gameplan for when they also have to worry about Green and KPJ from outside the paint.
Make no mistake, the Rockets are about to get much better, and Paolo Banchero is going to be a great fit with this roster.
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