3 Teams that absolutely crushed the 2023 NBA Draft with smart moves

NBA Draft prospect Brandin Podziemski (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports)
NBA Draft prospect Brandin Podziemski (James Snook-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Three teams absolutely crushed the 2023 NBA Draft

The 2023 NBA Draft is officially over, and we saw a few teams do a great job selecting talented players who will make their rosters better moving forward. Let’s take a look at three teams who crushed the draft this year and set themselves up to be a good team down the road.

1. Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets were devastated the night of the lottery as their pick landed outside the top three despite having some of the best odds of winning the number one overall pick. While the lottery was not kind to the Rockets, the draft night was a completely different story, as they selected two players inside the top 10 on the consensus big board.

The Rockets started out by picking Amen Thompson with the fourth pick, a tall guard with length who dominated the Overtime Elite league last season with his nuclear athleticism, high-level court vision- and suffocating defense.

His ability to pressure the rim and create advantages for his teammates is incredible and will fit perfectly next to Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, and Jabari Smith Jr. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rockets use him off the ball as they already have a few high usage ball handlers. I believe he could be a devastating cutter playing next to a high-level passer like Sengun.

The one thing that could keep him from being a quality player is his jump shot. Thompson simply cannot shoot right now, which is a significant issue for someone who is projected to be a primary ball handler in the NBA. However, he does so many valuable things at an elite level which should give him a path toward success even if he never becomes a good shooter.

The Rockets’ next selection came later in the first round, as they also owned the 20th pick in the draft. With this pick, they selected Cam Whitmore, who likely fell due to poor interviews and team workouts.

Draft Twitter loves Whitmore as he ranked sixth on this year’s edition of the draft Twitter consensus big board. There are plenty of reasons to love his game, as he is an 18-year-old wing with elite strength and athleticism who can finish at the rim and defend on the perimeter at a high level.

He also has some shooting upside, though he likely won’t ever become an elite marksman from behind the arc, as his shooting indicators going back to high school are nothing special. I worry about his decision-maker as a playmaker as well, but he won’t be asked to be a playmaker in Houston with Alperen Sengun, Amen Thompson, and Kevin Porter Jr. on the floor.

Like Thompson, Whitmore is a fantastic fit for this team, and these two players have a chance to change the direction of the franchise moving forward. Watch out because the Rockets have a very bright future.