Although the Houston Rockets finished 20-62 last season, they actually improved from their record two seasons ago. Fortunately, prospects for Houston are on the rise for the rest of this decade. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, Jr. appears to be one of the best young backcourt duos in the NBA.
Also, the Rockets ended up with three first-round picks this season after trading Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks. The trade showed that the Houston organization would bolster their frontcourt through the NBA Draft. Here is a look at who the Rockets selected.
Round 1, Pick 3: Jabari Smith, Jr. - PF - Auburn. 6'10", 220 lbs (16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg, 42.0% 3-PT FG%)
Jabari Smith, Jr. was one of the most talented players in this NBA Draft. He is able to make shots from long range with incredible accuracy. However, his defense is what really makes him special because he is able to stay in front of guards while defending the pick-and-roll while also being able to make defensive plays in the paint. He only needs to improve his post moves in order to become an NBA superstar. He will start right away at power forward for the Rockets.
Round 1, Pick 17: Tari Eason - SF - LSU. 6'8", 215 lbs (16.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.9 spg, 1.1 bpg, 35.9% 3-PT FG%)
Eason was one of most improved players in college basketball last season. He was already a good defensive player, but he really improved his jump shot which allowed for him to do damage on the court. The most amazing part about his statistics was that he did all of this from the bench. He only played 24 minutes a game last season. He plays with a high level of energy and intensity. He also will provide a spark for Houston off of the bench this season.
Round 1, Pick 29: TyTy Washington, Jr. - G - Kentucky. 6'3", 197 lbs (12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.3 spg, 35.0% 3-PT FG%)
The stats would have been better for Washington last season, but he played out of position. He should have been playing at point guard instead of at shooting guard, which proves that the coaching acumen of Kentucky head coach John Calipari has decreased over the years. Although he played at shooting guard, he still averaged almost 4 assists per game. He will be given time to develop since Porter, Jr. is the starting point guard and Dennis Schroder will be the back-up point guard.
Basically, Houston drafted their frontcourt of the future. Grade: A.