Rockets draft elite shooter in Reed Sheppard: Instant reaction and analysis

The Houston Rockets grabbed Reed Sheppard with the third overall pick.
The Houston Rockets grabbed Reed Sheppard with the third overall pick. / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets have had a pressing need for shooting for some time. They were one of the worst shooting teams with playoff aspirations in 2023-24. The Rockets' 35.2% accuracy from distance ranked 23rd in the NBA. 

If they're going to make a playoff run in 2024-25, they'll need a boost in that area. They may have just gotten one. With the third pick in the NBA draft, the Rockets have selected guard Reed Sheppard of Kentucky. 

Rockets could unlock entire roster with Sheppard

Sheppard shot 52.5% from long-range for the Wildcats last season. That's remarkable. It wouldn't be hyperbolic to call Sheppard a generational shooting prospect. 

Will he knock down over half of his threes at the NBA level? Almost certainly not. Still, Sheppard has an opportunity to be the best shooter on this roster in 2024-25. 

His three-point gravity should make life easier for Alperen Sengun. Double-teaming him on the low block will be less palpable for opponents knowing that it could shake Sheppard loose. Moreover, lineups featuring Jabari Smith Jr. at the 5 with Sheppard on the floor could give Amen Thompson the runway he needs to function as a point guard. 

Good shooting is a multiplier - it's a tide that raises all ships. The Rockets finally have a shooting specialist. What else can Sheppard be? 

Is Sheppard simply a specialist? 

This will be the key question as we watch Sheppard's career unfold. His 2.5 steals per game last season suggest elite defensive playmaking potential, but as a small guard, Sheppard could also be a target on that end in the NBA. 

Is he a playmaker at the NBA level? Can Sheppard make a play on the ball? The answers to these questions could be the difference between a solid rotational guard and an All-Star. Still, Sheppard's other-worldly shooting should help him find a role in the NBA. 

Now, we know he'll officially be finding it with the Houston Rockets.