3 reasons Chet Holmgren would be the perfect pick for the Rockets at No. 3 in the 2022 NBA Draft

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The Houston Rockets may have fallen back in the 2022 NBA Draft lottery to the third overall pick. However, they will still be able to walk away with one of the top three prospects: Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith Jr.

The downside to picking third is that the Rockets can’t choose which of those three they get. Right now, the likely order appears to be Smith to the Orlando Magic at No. 1 and Holmgren next will be selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Banchero would definitely be a solid addition who could be a strong tandem with Jalen Green.

However, if the Rockets have the chance to take Holmgren, they should jump at the chance. Houston is willing to trade the third overall pick, which is smart, but they should slam the door on every possible trade if Holmgren is available.

While the seven-foot Gonzaga’s lean frame may raise concerns about his durability at the pro level, his basketball skills won’t. He’s a terrific player and the perfect choice at number three overall.

3 reasons Chet Holmgren would be the perfect pick for the Rockets at No. 3 in the 2022 NBA Draft

3. Fit with Green Jalen

The Rockets are coming off a terrific season from Green, who was one of two rookies to average 17 points per game (along with Cade Cunningham). Houston needs to find another future star to grow with. What would the ideal running mate look like for him?

Because Green is so athletic and has 3-point shooting potential, it would be wise to find him someone who can throw lobs at him and find him in open areas. Holmgren would give the Rockets another big man who can make plays for him. Him and Alperen Sengun can do just that tandem.

Green can, of course, handle the ball himself, so it’s up to Houston to find someone he can throw lobs to. Holmgren’s 7-foot-6 wingspan and shooting touch around the hoop make him an excellent target. Oh, and he can shoot all three. He converted 39.0% from deep on 3.3 attempts per game. The Rockets can mix it up and throw pick-and-pops at it, too.

Pairing Holmgren with Green would give the Rockets a great double. Green can become an offensive superstar. The defense, however, may be lacking. Holmgren can support him and the team as a whole in this area as well.

2. Possible Defensive Cornerstone

If Holmgren doesn’t become the cornerstone of the Rockets’ defense, he’ll be the next best thing. Like last year’s number three, Evan Mobley, he’s a tall, nimble, smart defender who overcomes his slender frames by contesting every shot in his area code.

While Holmgren and Mobley aren’t one-on-one comparisons, the Gonzaga star features an impressive blend of versatility and rim protection. He had 3.7 blocks and 0.8 steals per game in 26.9 minutes of action in his only season at Gonzaga. The Rockets were bad in all areas last season, but they were particularly bad on defense. One of the reasons they were so bad was that they allowed the highest shooting percentage on shots within five feet.

Holmgren gave to adapt to bigger players and prove he can still move his feet well against better attacks. Still, he has the potential to be the best defensive player in this year’s draft and can become the backbone of the Rockets’ defense, especially as the team around him improves.

1. Exorbitant potential

Holmgren is one of the top three players in this year’s draft with a very strong possibility of being the best. That’s reason enough for the Rockets to grab him with the third pick.

In addition to a formidable defense, he has incredible versatility in attack. Shooting abilities in someone this size are rare. While Holmgren may not be a good half-court bucket-getter, he can do everything else reliably. Houston just needs a big player and Gonzaga’s long Swiss army knife is exactly that.

The Rockets would be on track to improve next season and into the future with such a complete big man to build around.

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