12. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn Nets) snag Kyle Filipowski
The Rockets already selected Justin Edwards fourth overall in this mock draft and should stockpile talent. They added Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks in free agency, but still project to be near the bottom of the Western Conference. It should be the best player available for Houston with this second lottery selection.
Filipowski would have been a first-round pick if he stayed in the 2023 class. He was the fourth-raked prospect coming out of high school and was All-ACC and ACC Tournament MVP as a freshman. The seven-footer decided to return for his sophomore year over heading to the NBA and could be a top-ten pick if he has a standout campaign.
Filipowski is a strong rebounder and scorer with a developing jumper. He made just 28.2 percent of his 124 3-point attempts last season. Can he consistently knockdown shots and further expand his game?
His defense is intriguing. The teenager showed some ability to switch onto the perimeter last season, but he needs to improve his shot-blocking and rim protection if he wants to be a game-changer on that end of the floor. The Houston Rockets have Jabari Smith Jr. and Alperen Sengun but could look to develop Kyle Filipowski and figure it out later. With the lack of wings in this class, taking the best player available could be the preferred strategy.