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2022 Houston Rockets draft picks, mock draft, and ideal scenarios

Jason Burgos
houston rockets draft
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 Houston Rockets draft will be another pivotal moment for the team as they look to turn their fortunes around and get back to being a consistent winning franchise.

In June, the Rockets will get three opportunities in the first round to find another building block for years to come. In 2021, the organization had three chances and found mixed results in rookies Jalen Green (2nd overall), Usman Garuba (23rd overall), and Josh Christopher (24th overall).

Fortunately for Houston, Green put forth a solid debut season averaging just under 18 points per game — second on the team — in 31.9 minutes per. Off the bench, Christopher was a solid contributor in year one as he averaged 7.9 PPG in just 18 minutes. Garuba, however, only played in 24 games and was mostly a non-factor for most of the 10 minutes he averaged.

Related: 2022 NBA mock draft – Projections and analysis for Round 1 and 2

The team will likely need more from all three, and the players they take at 3, 17 and 26 in next week’s NBA Draft. Let’s take a look at who the Houston Rockets will likely take in the opening round after acquiring that 26th pick from Dallas for Christian Wood.

2022 Houston Rockets draft picks

  • 1st round: 3rd Pick
  • 1st Round: 17th Pick
  • 1st round: 26th pick

Houston Rockets draft Paolo Banchero 3rd overall

houston rockets draft
Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Based on many expert opinions from around the industry, the Rockets taking Duke forward Paolo Banchero at three seems to be a near lock. And many feel he is the best player in the draft, so the team would be lucky to land him at this spot.

The 6-foot-10 forward is a smooth and gifted athlete. He is well-rounded, but what makes him a standout is his shot creativity for a player of his size. During Duke’s season-long run to the Final Four, he averaged 17.2 PPG, 7.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball.

Offensively he can do most everything, however, he projects to be an average defender. Luckily for Banchero, defense isn’t at a premium in today’s league. There is a good chance Banchero can be a player in the discussion for All-Star honors on a consistent basis. With Houston having dealt the aforementioned Wood, this pick now makes even more sense.

Houston Rockets draft Jalen Duren 17th overall

houston rockets draft
Credit: USA Today Network

Memphis center Jalen Duren is a beast at 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds. However, he is also a gifted athlete and has the ability to make life difficult even for guards when he has to roam out to the perimeter. Duren is a strong finisher around the rim and his explosiveness has helped to make him a demon on the offensive boards.

Last season, he averaged just 12.0 PPG for the Tigers due to the fact that his offensive game is underdeveloped. He has no back-to-the-basket skillset and has to rely heavily on his teammates getting him baskets or scoring on putbacks. Duren also has shown a penchant to bite on fakes and get out of position defensively, as he hunts for blocks. However, he has the skills to be a long-term contributor for years to come.

Rockets package draft pick to move John Wall

houston rockets draft
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

One major story heading into next season is what the team will do with veteran point guard John Wall. They very well could hold on to him and hope he can stay healthy, after missing the majority of the last three seasons. However, with him being in the final year of his contract, and having a $47 million dollar price tag in 2022-2023, the Rockets may work hard to move him.

There is value in the fact that his contract expires at the end of the year. If the organization were willing to attach their third pick (26th overall) in the first round to move Wall, they could get a decent return from other teams looking for long-term cap flexibility. Julius Randle from the New York Knicks or even Tobias Harris from the Philadelphia 76ers would not be out of the question. And both would be worthwhile additions to this rebuilding squad.

Past 10 Houston Rockets first-round picks

YearPickPlayerPositionCollege
20212ndJalen GreenGG-League
202123rdUsman GarubaFSpain
202124thJosh ChristopherGArizona State
201518thSam DekkerFWisconsin
201425thClint CapelaCSwitzerland
201214thJeremy Lamb (traded)FConnecticut
201216thRoyce WhiteFIowas State
201218thTerrence JonesFKentucky
201114thMarcus MorrisFKansas
201123rdNikola Mirotic (traded)FMontenegro