Although the Houston Rockets are widely expected to select Amen Thompson with the fourth pick in next week's NBA Draft, there is an abundance of opinions regarding what they'll do with their second pick, which falls at pick 20. The Rockets landed the latter pick by way of the Eric Gordon trade to the LA Clippers, and could possibly use the pick to move up in the draft to select Scoot Henderson, should they view him as a much better prospect than Thompson.
One name the Rockets should be enamored by is Brandin Podziemski of Santa Clara. Granted, Santa Clara plays in the West Coast Conference, which we've previously discussed isn't exactly a factory of competition, but Podziemski started out at Illinois as a freshman before transferring.
And not only that, Podziemski has traits that could easily correlate to this Rockets group.
Why the Rockets should have interest in Brandin Podziemski late in the draft
For starters, he presents a combination of size and shooting that this Rockets team simply doesn't have. Podziemski stands 6-foot-5 at the off-guard position and made 43.8 percent of his triples in 2022-23 on a healthy six attempts from deep, en route to averaging 19.9 points as a sophomore.
Podziemski uses his size to his advantage on the glass, as he averaged 8.8 rebounds, which led his team. It's not often that we see a guard leading their team in rebounds on any level. In this aspect, Podziemski is reminiscent of Josh Hart, who is built similarly and has been stellar on the glass in the NBA.
Podziemski's aforementioned 3-point shooting range could allow him to jockey for minutes in the Rockets' rotation right away, as the Rockets ranked 30th in that category in 2022-23 (32.7 percent), 21st in long-range shooting in 2021-22 (34.9 percent), and 28th in 2020-21 (33.9 percent). Podziemski's play oozes with an outer-worldly level of effort all over the floor, and his playmaking chops are quite underrated (3.7 assists, which led the team).
Putting it all together, nailing a player at 20 who led his team in points, assists, and rebounds wouldn't be too shabby for Rockets GM Rafael Stone, who needs to upgrade the roster.