The pros and cons of the Houston Rockets drafting Reed Sheppard

Will the Houston Rockets draft Reed Sheppard?
Will the Houston Rockets draft Reed Sheppard? / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

For Houston Rockets fans, it's draft season. You know what that means:

The fanbase has inevitably demarcated lines in a bloody civil war.

Every prospect is polarizing. In this weak class, that holds especially true. Whoever (if anyone) the Rockets select with the third overall pick, they're going to have flaws.

Take Reed Sheppard. If you ask some Rockets fans, drafting anyone else would be a fatal error. Others will hold that Sheppard is the wrong choice.

Let's take a closer look.

The pros of Houston Rockets selecting Reed Sheppard

There's a deeper discussion at hand here.

It's the old "best player available vs fit" thing. The Rockets have a dire need for shooting, but targeting shooting alone with the third overall pick in the NBA Draft doesn't feel palpable.

Still, it's hard to ignore Sheppard's 52.1% accuracy on 4.4 three-point attempts per game for the Kentucky Wildcats this year.

There's shooting, and then there's special shooting. That's a special mark. Sheppard may not strictly be a floor spacer - he may be the best shooter in the NBA someday.

That will make his life easier in general. If offenses desperately scramble to close out his shot, Sheppard will have easier driving lanes. Imagine if Buddy Hield had any semblance of a dribble-drive game.

Oh - we forgot to mention. Sheppard has a semblance of a dribble-drive game.

He's got some playmaking in his bag, too. Sheppard is a crafty passer in both the half-court and in transition.

Transition passing is particularly valuable if you can create transition opportunities. Sheppard averaged 2.5 steals per game last year. In a nutshell, there's a simple case for Sheppard - he was special in two very valuable areas (three-point shooting and steals) last season.

What's not to love?

The cons of Houston Rockets selecting Reed Sheppard

Sheppard may get a lot of steals. That's not a comprehensive measure of his defensive ability. There are reasons to be concerned about him on that end of the floor at the NBA level.

Some outlets list him at 6'3", but that feels generous. Sheppard will be a smaller guard at the NBA level. Coupled with a short wingspan and limited lateral mobility, it's likely that he'll be targeted on the defensive end of the floor.

It could be a fatal flaw. The variance in potential outcomes for Sheppard is vast. He could be a poor man's Steph Curry, but he could also be a rich man's Payton Pritchard.

Should the Rockets roll the dice?

Houston Rockets need to consider Sheppard

Full transparency: he's our favorite prospect who's likely to be on the board.

Let's assume that Alexandre Sarr goes first, and Zaccharie Risacher comes off the board second. There is no remaining prospect without a potentially major flaw.

Besides - Sheppard isn't that small. He's regular small. Some teams will be well-built to exploit him. So what?

Some teams are well-built to exploit Nikola Jokic. Teams still dare Giannis Antetokoumnpo to shoot. There are an exceedingly small number of NBA players without a flaw.

Is Sheppard likely to garner Curry comparisons throughout his career? No - but he's very likely to surpass Pritchard. It's hard to find a perfect historical comparison for Sheppard, but he could resemble something like a rich man's Malcolm Brogdon.

For some fans, that's a player worth going to war over.