Examining what the Rockets should do with the No. 2 pick

Jalen Suggs, Rockets Kevin Porter, Cade Cunningham
Nobody on this roster should be off limits. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Rockets are in a good spot to help begin their rebuild by possessing the number two overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. They also have two other selections in the first round with numbers 23 and 24. While those back end picks more than likely won't pan out to be much, they could be valuable rotational players at some point in their careers. The true value lies in number two overall. That pick paid off for their horrendous season, finishing with the league's worst record. It also allowed them to keep the pick instead of the Oklahoma City Thunder taking it as part of the Chris Paul trade.

The scuttlebutt has already begun to make its rounds about which player the Rockets will pick or what other options are out there for them should they decide to trade it. I think a team in their position should keep all their options open. There are some really talented guys at the top of this draft that could help this team turn it around if they pan out. There are also several trade scenarios that could involve the number two pick that could bring back a decent haul. Let's take a look at a few options:

Drafting a player: Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs, and Jalen Green are all expected to be available considering many evaluators believe Cade Cunningham is the consensus number one overall pick going to the Pistons. Mobley could pair with Christian Wood as a stretch version of the Twin Towers the Rockets had when they put Hakeem Olajuwon with Ralph Sampson in the 80s. Suggs is pretty NBA ready and tough as nails. Green is very athletic, explosive, and has a really high ceiling. Any of these guys would upgrade this roster immediately. Would they be franchise-changing the way some past number two overall picks have been? Not initially. Even draft picks this high in the NBA now are based more off potential instead of being can't-miss prospects. I'd love to see any one of them in a Rockets uniform, but the one that intrigues me most is Green. He could be the next dynamic scorer in the league à la a Bradley Beal, Donovan Mitchell, or Devin Booker. Suggs would be a nice addition, but isn't as explosive as Green. Mobley is redundant because you have Wood, but he could be Wood's replacement if he's seen as a similar talent, but on a more team friendly deal for a longer period of time (more on that later).

Trading the pick: The option of trading the pick has many tentacles. They could package the pick and other picks/players to vault the team into contention by seeking a superstar who's looking for a change of scenery (Ben Simmons or Beal), or a disgruntled star fed up with his current situation (Dame Lillard). They could even use it to trade back in this draft and pick up extra picks and/or players. For example- The Warriors are thinking about trading for Pascal Siakam. Supposedly, the number seven overall pick and last year's rookie James Wiseman would be going to the Raptors. They would then possess numbers four and seven overall. What would they be willing to give up for number two? I'd call the Warriors and see if they want number two for numbers seven, fourteen, and one of their good players. The possibilities are endless in any trade scenario. Nobody on this roster is off limits when it comes to being a part of any trade package I'd consider. Not even Christian Wood. He'll be on the second year of a three-year deal next season and has expressed his desire to be a max player for his next contract. If including him as part of a trade package that could net you a nice haul in return means parting with a potential building block, so be it. ESPN 97.5 Houston's AJ Hoffman (6/24/21, hour four) and Joel Blank have both recently commented on this, and I wholeheartedly agree.

I hope they take Green, or trade the pick. I believe Green has a really high ceiling and could be the ultimate boom or bust pick. He has the body type, scoring ability, and athleticism that could be a cornerstone to a rebuilding team. Should they trade the pick, I hope they get better value than they've gotten out of the CP3, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden deals. Trading the pick for more assets is only ideal if they can make those assets turn into reliable pieces. I'm nervously optimistic for this team. This could either be a quick turnaround, or the beginning of a long road.

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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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