Should the Rockets prioritize Scoot Henderson over Amen Thompson?
Although Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta had been praying for Victor Wembanyama, Lady Luck had a different idea in mind for the franchise. The Rockets ultimately landed the fourth pick in the draft, which many viewed as a disappointment, as they too had their sights on Wemby, like Fertitta.
Immediately after the lottery concluded, many began to speculate that the Rockets could possibly move up to land Scoot Henderson. The logic is easy to follow, as the Charlotte Hornets, who hold the second overall pick, already have their point guard of the future in LaMelo Ball.
The same can be said for the Portland Trail Blazers, who draft at number three, and already have their point guard of the future in Damian Lillard. But should the Rockets get rid of assets to land Scoot Henderson, as opposed to staying put at number four to draft Amen Thompson?
This may seem like a dumb question if you interpret it as me suggesting that Thompson is a better player than Henderson. That's surely not the case, as Henderson would go first in the draft if Wembanyama wasn't in this particular class.
Why the Rockets should stand pat at pick four, not move up for Scoot Henderson
Henderson is viewed as a can't-miss prospect, who is a natural playmaker, while Thompson is viewed as a project with more upside. The main concern with Thompson is his lack of shooting, which we know can be improved over time (see LeBron James, John Wall, Lonzo Ball, and Rajon Rondo). Not to say that he will become the aforementioned Lillard from long-range, but we've seen players develop formidable 3-point shots over time.
Thompson is better on the defensive end, which his 6-foot-7 frame helps with, as he can easily switch on guards and forwards. Thompson is also an equal processor on the floor, although the level of competition could make it difficult for many to see that.
Again, this isn't to say that Thompson is better than Henderson. But there may not be a big enough drop-off to justify parting with additional assets to nab Henderson.
If the Rockets had the second pick, this wouldn't be a discussion point, obviously. But they have the fourth pick and need to land a playmaking guard, which they can land without even having to sacrifice assets to land, if they simply stay put and take Amen Thompson.