The Houston Rockets, through the NBA's draft lottery, ended up with the third overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. While missing out on the first overall pick was a bit of a letdown, it's far better than ending up with the fifth pick, which they had a 47.9% chance of landing.
The Rockets have until June, 23rd to zero in on their next franchise player. The top three prospects, according to most outlets, are; Jabari Smith from Auburn, Chet Holmgren from Gonzaga, and Paolo Banchero from Duke. Jaden Ivey has also routinely popped into the top three, but he clearly remains the fourth man.
If the Rockets believe, as many do, that the top three players are Smith, Holmgren, and Banchero, then their draft day should be incredibly easy. In all likelihood, the Magic and Thunder, at one and two, will pick from that trio and leave the Rockets with one obvious choice.
In the coming days and weeks, the Rockets will thoroughly vet an assortment of prospects. At the third pick, the Rockets are in a good position to trade up or down, and knowing every prospect in the top ten could allow them to secure a franchise-altering player or extra assets for the future.
Jaden Ivey's name will likely get thrown around as an option with the third pick. His athleticism is simply jaw-dropping, and as the son of a coach, his mother coaches the Notre Dame women's basketball team, he has a rare combination of natural talent and developmental infrastructure. The holes in his game, defense, shooting, and decision making, have him just a tad behind Banchero, Holmgreen, and Smith, but he has superstar upside.
The Rockets' 17th pick, via Brooklyn, just got a new cooler friend called the third pick. After consecutive seasons of winning the fewest games in the league, the Rockets are in a great position to build a core capable of contention.