Three Rockets players, other teams could target 2023 NBA Draft

The Rockets have been incredibly lucky to land the top three picks in back-to-back seasons and get elite talent like Jalen Green and Jabari Smith. Although the goal for young players is to start winning next season, it would be a better plan for the Rockets to limp on for one more season and collect another lottery asset before going into full mode, winning now. , especially since the Rockets owe the Oklahoma City Thunder their 2024 first-round pick anyway.

Luckily for the Rockets, it looks like there will be a franchise changer available at the top of the 2023 draft and a clear top three. Although we’re 12 months out from next year’s draft, and a lot can happen, there’s not much – other than a catastrophic injury – that would eliminate Victor Wembanyama from the No. 1 pick in the league. ‘next year.

Here’s a look at the 18-year-old, who is already playing professionally overseas, and the two other players who should be available to teams lucky enough to make the top three in next year’s lottery….

Victor Wembanyama, France

Victor Wembanyama, #1 poses during LDLC Asvel Villeurbanne’s Turkish Airlines EuroLeague 2021/2022 Media Day at Astroballe on September 13, 2021 in Villeurbanne, France.

Romain Biard/Euroleague Basketball via Getty

The 7-foot-2 French center, who turns 19 next January, is considered one of the best prospects to come through the draft in years and will be the reason some teams insist on tanking next season. He is already playing major minutes professionally in the EuroLeague, which is the second best league in the world behind the NBA. Wembanyama can score from anywhere on the court, has rare athleticism for someone with his frame, and offers elite rim protection. He took France to the final of the FIBA ​​Under-19 Basketball World Cup last summer and had 22 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks in the championship game against the United States. United, who had 7-foot Chet Holmgren, the No. 2 pick this year. , on the team.

Scoot Henderson, G-League Ignite

Grand Rapids Gold's Scoot Henderson #0 heads for the rim against Grand Rapids Gold's Manny Camper #13 during the NBA G League Winter Showcase at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on December 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Grand Rapids Gold’s Scoot Henderson #0 heads for the rim against Grand Rapids Gold’s Manny Camper #13 during the NBA G League Winter Showcase at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on December 19, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images

The 6ft 2in playmaker, who turns 19 next February, was one of the country’s top signings in the Class of 2022 but decided to upgrade to the Class of 2021 and go straight to the G League Ignite at only 17 years old. Old. The lightning-fast and explosive Henderson, who had 31 points in his second professional G League game, averaged 14 points and 4.8 assists in 10 G League games last season. He has already signed a two-year, seven-figure shoe deal with Puma, although he is not eligible for the draft for another year.

Nick Smith, Arkansas

McDonald's High School All American Nick Smith Jr. (14) poses for a photo on Portrait Day March 26, 2022

McDonald’s High School All American Nick Smith Jr. (14) poses for a photo on Portrait Day March 26, 2022

Sportswire Icon/Sportswire Icon via Getty Images

The 6-foot-5 point guard is currently the consensus third-best player in next year’s draft. He’ll have to continue to prove that as a freshman at Arkansas, but he’s entering as the nation’s top-ranked point guard who impressed on the All-Star circuit at the McDonald’s All-American Game, Nike’s Hoop Summit and Classic from the Jordan brand. He has a good size, a quick first step and always seems to play hard.



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