Realistic targets for the Rockets at pick 17:

Houston’s first round-one selection will be the easiest selection of the draft, since they will just take whichever one of Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, or Jabari Smith Jr., falls to the third pick, so the big questions for the Rockets begin with pick 17.

Houston’s focus should be on defensive-minded forwards to shore up a rotation that looks very thin after Jae’Sean Tate and KJ Martin. If a good big or guard slips they could look in that direction as well.

Forwards

Tari Eason

Eason is a 6’8” combo forward who does a little bit of everything. Think of him as a stretched out Jae’Sean Tate. With Tate entering his extension-eligible year, Eason could be both an immediate contributor and a piece for the future. 

Josh Minott

Minott may be the most athletic player in the draft. A rangy 6’8” wing who’s a jumper away from being a lottery pick, Minott thrives in transition and as a defensive disruptor. Think of him in a role similar to James Johnson with the Heat a few years ago or Andrei Kirilenko with less shot creation.

Ousmane Dieng

Dieng may be the most high upside guy available with this pick. Early on in Australia he looked awful but as his body filled out and he got comfortable in his role he has flashed some really good creation and defensive abilities. He could easily be someone in a Nic Batum role as secondary creator who can play defense and stretch the floor.

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Bigs

Mark Williams

Mark Williams shouldn’t be here. He’s too good to be here but if he’s here he has to be the pick. 7’2” Athletes who aren’t ground bound Zombies don’t grow on trees. If he stays this late he needs to be the pick. He’s basically baby Rudy Gobert.

Ismael Kamagate

If Houston is intent on moving Christian Wood and they feel safe with a forward rotation that feels undersized they will need a backup big. Usman Garuba showed flashes of defensive versatility last year, but If Houston wants to double down on their chances to get a contributor they could take a gamble on the French shot blocker. He’s shown a bit of an ability to stretch the floor to at least the mid range so he should be thought of as someone who can play that old-school John Henson role from the Bucks a few years ago.

John Butler

Look, this would be bad… Like really bad… This is an overdraft by at least 10 picks… I’m just a little OCD and felt like adding a third big so… I guess Butler can count. Butler doesn’t offer anything more than just average big man stuff. Think Justin Patton or the myriad of average bigs who have tried to play in the league without any discernible skill sets but size. He also makes Bol Bol look as fat as post retirement Charles Barkley.

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Guards

Ochai Agbagi

Agbagi is a shooter… Shooters shoot. If he falls this far he’s a decent off ball guy to space the floor and the Rockets could absolutely use him. Think of Danny Green or Wes Matthews.

Dyson Daniels

Similar to Mark Williams, if he falls, take him! Dyson has a little bit of Lonzo ball, a little bit of Tyrese Halliburton and could be one of the best players in this draft if he can get into a system that utilizes him right. He has the size to play on the wings and the ball skills to be in the backcourt.

Tyty Washington

Tyty Washington felt a little miscast as a combo guard at Kentucky last year. He’s really more of an on-ball player who can create for himself and others. Houston doesn’t currently have that type of a player on the roster (I mean, technically they have John Wall but you know what I mean.) Tyty could play exactly like Denis Schroeder from last, with probably a bit better of a shooter.

Houston has lots of options at the 17 spot and, quite frankly, a roster that has enough holes to fit someone in almost anywhere. Whatever direction Houston goes it will fill a hole. The future is bright for Houston.

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Jonathan is a former basketball coach and current mega fan. He’s the co-host of the Assisted Development Podcast and can be found on Twitter at @PastorPostUp!