2024 NBA Lottery Mock Draft: Blazers swing for upside, Spurs stockpile guards

The Portland Trail Blazers swing for upside in this 2024 NBA lottery mock draft.
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3. Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn) take Donovan Clingan

The Houston Rockets seem interested in getting a gauge around the league on what the market is for the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft. They puzzlingly seem set on accelerating their rebuild, as evidenced by last offseason’s Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks signings.

In this scenario, the Rockets don’t find a trade partner but take center Clingan regardless. Clingan was a pivotal piece in UConn's back-to-back NCAA national championships as their defensive anchor. His strengths in rebounding and defense, particularly his rim protection, should translate immediately to the next level.

Clingan has one of the highest floors in what is perceived to be a weak and unpredictable draft class. Clingan can be the best player in the draft if he can develop a three-point shot. Although the Rockets already have their foundational big man in Alperen Sengun, they should still take Clingan if he is highest on their draft board.

The Timberwolves showed the blueprint for defeating the Nuggets and relatively containing Nikola Jokic in this year’s playoffs. There’s also the threat of the up-and-coming unicorns in the Western Conference—Victor Wembanyama on the Spurs and Chet Holmgren on the Thunder. If the Rockets plan to make a deep playoff run, they’ll have to go through one or multiple of these teams eventually. It can’t hurt to add another physically gifted big man in Clingan to help prepare for the playoffs.