NBA Hoops

After Rockets’ lottery luck, Rafael Stone excited by top of draft pool

After Rockets’ lottery luck, Rafael Stone excited by top of draft pool

Houston’s 2024 first-round draft pick from the Brooklyn Nets (32-50) entered Sunday’s NBA draft lottery in the No. 9 odds slot. Yet, the Rockets somehow ended up with a No. 3 overall selection after finishing in the top 15% of potential outcomes.

It’s the fourth straight year that Houston has won one of the four lottery picks determined by the league’s annual drawing.

With 19 more victories relative to the previous season, the young and improving Rockets (41-41) enjoyed the NBA’s biggest year-on-year improvement in the 2023-24 campaign. That’s led to talk in recent weeks that Houston could look to trade its 2024 first-round pick for veteran help that is more ready to contribute and win immediately, and particularly since the Rockets already have a number of talented young players in their playing rotation.

In short, the question is whether there’s enough available playing time to develop another young prospect.

But, by selecting at No. 3 overall instead of No. 9, the Rockets are suddenly in a different talent tier — at least relative to earlier expectations. As preparations begin for the June 26 first round, could that make a best-player available approach more tempting?

In a virtual press conference held after Sunday’s lottery, general manager Rafael Stone made it clear that he and the Rockets are keeping their options open. Here’s a roundup of what he had to say.

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Rockets Wire…