NBA mock draft: Who Rockets could take with two 2022 first-round picks

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With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now over halfway completed and college basketball in the middle of conference play, mock drafts are becoming more intriguing and valuable to monitor.

After all, a team like the Houston Rockets that currently sits at the bottom of the Western Conference knows they have very strong odds to draft high in the first round. Moreover, the track records for many available college players are coming into better focus, since many of the top prospects are now facing off quality opposition on a more regular basis.

The Rockets are currently slotted to have two first-round picks in the 2022 NBA draft: Their own, along with the higher pick between Miami and Brooklyn. As of now, Houston’s pick is likely to be high in the draft, while the Miami/Brooklyn pick appears likely to be in the 20s — since both the Heat and Nets appear poised to easily make the playoffs.

As of Saturday, the Rockets (12-32) had the league’s third-worst record. Scroll on for a look at the draft lottery odds, should that position hold, along with insight by For The Win’s Bryan Kalbrosky on who they might take with each of their two first-round selections in 2022.

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Draft grades: Rockets earn high marks for four first-round picks

Draft lottery odds, if Rockets finish with third-worst record

No. 1: 14.0%
No. 2: 13.4%
No. 3: 12.7%
No. 4: 12.0%
No. 5: 14.8%
No. 6: 26.0%
No. 7: 7.0%

(pick odds via Tankathon)

Rockets at No. 3: Paolo Banchero

Photo by Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Big, Freshman, 6-10 (Duke)

Although there are three players who have a solid case to present as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft, that means one of those players could slide to the third selection.

That’s not a knock on Paolo Banchero, however, as he is someone who appears capable of making an immediate contribution to a pro team based on his impressive physical frame paired with a unique skill set for someone his size.

Banchero would join a team of remarkably skilled hoopers like Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., and Josh Christopher if he were selected by the Rockets. If he were added to this squad, they’d easily have one of the most talented young cores.

Rockets at No. 23: Wendell Moore Jr.

AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Wing, Junior, 6-5 (Duke)

After two disappointing seasons for Duke, it seems Wendell Moore has put it all together and has played his way into the first round of the 2022 NBA draft.

I recently wrote about why I like Moore as a prospect, but he has continued to impress me all season long. He is averaging 16.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game while also shooting 40.8% on 3-pointers. Moore is built like a football player and has the right frame to become an above-average defender in the NBA, too.

Although he is a junior, he won’t even be 21 years old on the night of the draft, and he is less than two months older than freshman TyTy Washington. Moore has become one of the most well-rounded players in college basketball.

(analysis by Bryan Kalbrosky)

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