2024 NBA Mock Draft: Spurs prioritize two-way talents, Magic land surprise steal

Predicting how the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft will unfold with less than a week to go.
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Reed Sheppard
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Pick No. 3: Houston Rockets (via Nets) select Reed Sheppard

The Rockets could trade their No. 3 pick for more established talent to help them make a playoff push. Per Yahoo! Sports' Jake Fischer, teams like the Portland Trail Blazers "have indeed called Houston" about potentially trading up. However, several other teams also sound interested in jumping into the top three.

It doesn’t make a ton of sense to aggressively move up in a draft that is expected to be weak, particularly at the top of the draft. But this also means it will likely require much less trade assets to make the jump. Teams potentially interested in moving up could be targeting back-to-back NCAA national champion big man Donovan Clingan. However, if the Houston Rockets retain their pick, Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard would be a better fit.

The Rockets’ organization strongly values analytics when constructing their roster and game plans. Sheppard is one of the best prospects in this draft class from an analytical standpoint. Some numbers that jump out are Sheppard’s extremely efficient shooting splits of 54/52/83. He’s simply someone who will maximize possessions and even win you more with his impressive 2.5 steals per game. Sheppard would seamlessly fit into the Rockets’ system and provide them with long-term insurance at the guard position for Fred VanVleet.