Rockets exploring trade-up scenarios in 2022 NBA draft

When the Rockets decided to keep Eric Gordon until the February 2022 close, part of the reasoning was that general manager Rafael Stone didn’t want a draft pick late in the first round of 2022. With Houston’s roster already packed with prospects and prospects, there’s little incentive to acquire another medium-sized prospect without available minutes.

As such, some in the NBA were surprised when this week’s top prize in trading Christian Wood was No. 26 overall from Dallas. But it appears that this was simply because it was simply the best value available for Wood, as opposed to the Rockets genuinely wanting to add a 2022 first-round third pick to their roster for the upcoming 2022-23 season.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Houston wants to consolidate assets and prioritize quality over quantity — and that may mean moving up from No. 17 or even Houston’s top pick to No. 3. He writes:

#3 Summary: The Rockets now have the 26th pick in addition to the third and 17th picks. With three firsts, a number of future picks and youngsters on the roster, they’ve asked if they can move up to either of the top two spots. Whether they’re targeting (Jabari) Smith, (Chet) Holmgren or (Paolo) Banchero, Jalen Green showed in his rookie year that he’s a rising star in need of a running mate.

No. 17 summary: The Rockets are looking to trade this pick in order to level up and get an additional late lottery pick.

Whether the Rockets will actually be able to pull off any of these moves remains to be seen. But in the last few days leading up to the draft on Thursday, June 23, it certainly makes sense for them to try.

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