It's well known that the Houston Rockets have a need at the point guard position. At least it's well known that they believe they do.
It's even more common knowledge who they want to fill that void, as we've been hearing about a James Harden return since Christmas. Harden's situation is far from a sure thing, especially if the Philadelphia 76ers decide to give him a four-year max contract.
If that happens, the Rockets are likely to add a veteran floor general this summer, of which there are several options to choose from, especially for a team with $60 million in cap space and the ability to add essentially whoever they're willing to overpay. The Rockets are hoping to make drastic improvements next season, and even jockey for positioning in the league's play-in tournament.
For this to happen, the Rockets will need to get their picks right, as making the wrong selections could extend their rebuild. In spite of that, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has the franchise selecting two projects in the first round, starting with Amen Thompson at pick number four, and rounding out with Maxwell Lewis of Pepperdine at pick twenty.
Thompson has been the overwhelming pick in most mock drafts, as he could very well be the best prospect on the board with the fourth pick, and he fills a position of need for the team. He's certainly not a flawless product though, as his shooting concerns are real (23.3 percent from three on roughly three attempts). Typically one of the better gauges of future 3-point shooting proficiency is how well a player fared at the charity stripe and that also gives cause for concern (64.6 percent from the free throw line).
Recent mock draft puts Rockets' developmental program to the test
Thompson also will have to cut his turnovers down, as he averaged over three turnovers, along with 6.2 assists. Considering that he had these struggles in the Overtime Elite, a league that's not known to be littered with lottery picks, it's known that the Rockets will have to devote resources to aid in his development, as he will be very raw when he enters the league.
Wasserman's second pick, Maxwell Lewis, will be quite similar, as it pertains to not entering the league as an NBA-ready player. Lewis starred at Pepperdine and also didn't face immense competition, as the West Coast Conference isn't exactly known to be a powerhouse.
Lewis has shown potential to be a three-level scorer, as he averaged 17 points on 46.8 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from deep, and 78.7 percent from the line, but again, the level of defenses he was facing has to make one question whether that can be expected at the next level.
If the Rockets are able to develop him, he could very well be another Trey Murphy or Jalen Williams. On the defensive end, Lewis could be a formidable wing defender, but he gets lulled asleep far too often when ball-watching.
Opposing players found it far too easy to go right past Lewis, which is another thing he'll have to work on in the NBA. If the Rockets are able to develop both Thompson and Lewis, they could walk away with two difference makers. That'll be very important if Wasserman's mock draft comes into fruition.