Should the Houston Rockets fail to land a top-three odds to pick in this year’s NBA Draft, expect the club to become “aggressive” in trading their first-round pick, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
“They’ll be disappointed if they don’t get the No. 1 pick (again). They would be aggressive in trading down if the pick is outside the top 3,” Iko wrote in his latest mailbag.
Houston, being the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention this 2022-23, sits at 14th of the Western Conference with an 18-52 record. Finishing the season included in the top three worst records will assure them a 14 percent chance to snag the top pick from the ballot.
The past two NBA Drafts allowed them to finish in the top three, as they chose Jalen Green (2nd) and Jabari Smith Jr. (3rd) on the 2021 and 2022 selections, respectively.
Various scouts, experts, and mock drafts are projecting that Victor Wembanyama (1), Scoot Henderson (2), and Brandon Miller (3) will land in the top three of the 2023 rookie selection. Given Wembanyama’s talent and unicorn traits, he has been widely pegged as the prospect that will occupy the first spot.
The wide between Henderson and Miller has been close, with some picking the forward over the G League standout. As such, Miller can capitalize on Henderson’s shutdown in Ignite by raising his value as Alabama’s star in the ongoing NCAA tourney.
Outside of the three, the likes of Amer Thompson, Cameron Whitmore, Ausar Thompson, and Nick Smith are there in the pool for lottery teams.
The 2023 NBA Draft lottery will take place on May 16.