Tuesday’s news and notes relevant to the Rockets

With the No. 3 overall pick in the 2022 first round, the Houston Rockets are widely expected to draft whichever of the consensus top 3 prospects — Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero — is still on the board. All are frontcourt players.

However, it remains unclear which of the three Rockets general managers Rafael Stone will ultimately be available. There’s also a distant scenario where Oklahoma City picks Jaden Ivey on pick #2, which could give Houston a choice of two of those three frontcourt options.

Assuming the Rockets retain the pick, the player selected will immediately join Jalen Green as the cornerstone of Houston’s rebuilding.

Now that it’s draft week, rumors will be making the rounds leading up to the actual selection on Thursday night, June 23rd. Some reports over the past few days will be credible, while others may be misinformation that fits a particular team or prospect’s agenda. With that in mind, instead of writing individual stories for each and every rumor, we at RocketsWire sort through all the tidbits pertaining to each of the top three teams.

From there, it might be easier to determine where the true momentum or trend lies. As of Monday noon, here’s the latest coverage of the Magic (#1), Thunder (#2), and Rockets (#3) and what they could mean for Houston’s ultimate pick.

Jake Fischer, Bleacher Report:

With Thursday night’s No. 1 pick, league executives are widely assuming Auburn forward Jabari Smith is the Magic’s pick. Among Smith and fellow top prospects Chet Holmgren and Paolo Banchero, Smith and his reps have expressed the greatest excitement about joining Magic in a long time, sources told B/R. Holmgren and Banchero’s camps have greater desires to end up elsewhere, according to league staffers familiar with both players.

Sam Vencenie, The Athlete:

Smith was the #1 guy in the mock draft immediately after the lottery, and he’s staying that guy here as we start draft week. I’m not as sure as some of my media peers about calling this a ban. Orlando conducted its due diligence on each of the top tier prospects in a variety of ways. I don’t think that decision was made in weeks or so, and we won’t know until draft night.

Jonathan Giveny, ESPN:

Orlando carefully considered his options beyond Smith on the draft, drawing up Holmgren, Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray and Shaedon Sharpe. Every NBA team we spoke to expects Smith to be the pick here — any other scenario would be a huge surprise to league executives.

Jake Fischer, Bleacher Report:

While Holmgren visited Orlando, it was believed that the Gonzaga product and its representatives would prefer to finish with the Oklahoma City Thunder at #2 as they believe the Thunder has stronger infrastructure to support Holmgren’s development support. Holmgren only worked with Orlando and Oklahoma City during preliminary design activities, sources said. The same goes for Smith.

Sam Vencenie, The Athlete:

Oklahoma City wanted to build a modern team capable of packing and going all five players on the break, shooting 3-pointers and offering real offensive ability while still having the ability to defend. The in many ways idealized version of this is Holmgren.

Jonathan Giveny, ESPN:

Holmgren, who has only trained for Orlando and the Thunder, seems comfortable being selected here.

Jake Fischer, Bleacher Report:

Banchero is known to be relishing the opportunity to join the Rockets at No. 3, sources said, while members of his agency aren’t ruling out the possibility that the Duke rookie will end up in Oklahoma City. A Seattle native, Banchero has multiple ties to Rocket’s General Manager Rafael Stone, also a Seattle native. Banchero, sources tell B/R, will be further emboldened by possibly forming a goal attack alongside Rockets’ second guard Jalen Green.

Sam Vencenie, The Athlete:

The Rockets also get someone very high on their board in Banchero. After trading Christian Wood, it seems clear that the Rockets are emptying their frontcourt for whichever of the top three frontcourt players.

Jonathan Giveny, ESPN:

The Rockets got a close look at Banchero at a private practice session at his home base in Memphis before taking him to Houston for another visit.

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