Rockets address biggest needs with most important picks

2022 NBA Draft
2022 NBA Draft / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets needed two things above all else outside of talent with their first two picks; forward depth and help on defense. Consider that mission accomplished.

The Houston Rockets had a mountain of problems during the 2021 season. This is a bit of an understatement based on the fact that they finished with the worst record in basketball, but the main problems were easy to identify.

The Rockets struggled with their forward depth and defense more than most teams.

Getting smaller and moving Christian Wood to the five and Jae'Sean Tate to the four was a bold move by Houston. This bold move generally led to disaster.

Tate and Wood both lacked the size to excel at their individual positions, and even K.J. Martin was a bit too small for his role. When you add in that guys like Eric Gordon were playing the three, you can see that the guys on the court being out of position was going to be part of the reason why the Rockets lost so many games.

To address this, the Rockets were able to steal Jabari Smith with the third overall pick and Tari Eason at 17; both forwards that can play defense. Smith is obviously great on both ends of the court, and Houston getting to pair him with Eason over ten picks later was another excellent move.

Eason was a quality scorer at LSU and looked like one of the best defensive players in the class, especially with the 17th-overall picks. Bringing him in to compete with Martin and Tate for reps in the starting roles and as the key backups is only going to up the quality of this young core for the Rockets.

If Martin does end up wanting a trade, Eason could threaten Jae'Sean Tate for that other starting role towards the end of the season if the rookie is able to show out on defense and as a shooter.

The first two picks are always the most important. A couple of late picks in the 20s aren't really going to change much with all the young depth on this roster.

Still, the Rockets found a way to get much better tonight.

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