2022 NBA Draft Grades for all 15 teams in the Western Conference

Adam Silver (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Adam Silver (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) /
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2022 NBA Draft
AUBURN, AL – JANUARY 19: Jabari Smith #10 of the Auburn Tigers sets up a shot against the Georgia Bulldogs in the second half at Auburn Arena on January 19, 2022 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

2022 NBA Draft Grades for the Western Conference: Houston Rockets

Picks: Jabari Smith Jr., Forward, Auburn (3); Tari Eason, Forward, LSU (17); TyTy Washington, Guard, Kentucky (29);

Coming into the NBA Draft, nearly everyone expected that the Houston Rockets would take Paolo Banchero with the third pick in the draft. Instead, Banchero went first overall to the Orlando Magic, but the Rockets were likely just fine seeing Jabari Smith Jr. fall to them.

Smith is one of this draft’s best shooters, with a smooth jumper he can get off against almost anyone. He’s also a strong defender who can hold up in space and will battle inside. His weakness is on-ball shot creation and playmaking, but on a team with two ball-dominant guards and a center in Alperen Sengun who can pass at a high level, Smith’s weaknesses are muted and his strengths are set up to shine.

The Rockets went right back to the defensive well with their second first-round pick, taking LSU’s Tari Eason at 17. He is a long, strong force of nature with relentless energy who attacks opponents on defense in racking up steals and blocks in historic numbers, and who attacks on offense to draw fouls and put pressure on a defense. He is the exact kind of player you need to fill a roster with when you have defensive question marks at both guard positions.

They traded into the back end of the first round by moving Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks, then dropped back a few slots to 29, and there took TyTy Washington. Inexplicably, the Kentucky guard plummeted down the draft board, but he has a large wingspan and solid defensive tools, and offensively he is an incredible passer with a high basketball IQ and great natural touch. He could very easily be the long-term starter in the backcourt with Jalen Green and he lasted until the 29th pick.

Grade: A+