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Houston Rockets fill long-standing need in mock draft

The Houston Rockets have found themselves in constant need of a legitimate center, since 2020, when they traded Clint Capela. The Rockets acquired Kelly Olynyk and Daniel Theis in subsequent seasons, but they had brief stints and came and went.

The Rockets signed Jock Landale last offseason, who was lackluster for much of the season, forcing Jeff Green to fill the role of a reserve big man.

Great evils come with great means.

Sure, the Rockets have Alperen Sengun, but he’s not a true center, skill-wise. And he doesn’t have the imposing frame and build that centers typically have, as he’s built more like a power forward.

The Rockets traded for Steven Adams at the trade deadline, but he’s on the wrong side of 30 and he’s also coming off a major lower extremity injury — there’s no way to know if he’ll be the same player.

And there is no reason to assume this with confidence.

However, if the latest mock draft from Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek is true, the Rockets will no longer need to worry, as the Rockets draft Connecticut’s Donovan Clingan with the third overall pick.

“The Rockets invested heavily in guard play in recent drafts with Jalen Green and Amen Thompson last year. Adding Clingan to anchor the defense could bring additional size to the talented centers in the Western Conference.”

Clingan is dominant on the glass (7.4 rebounds and 2.5 offensive rebounds per game last season) and possesses great lateral quickness and mobility, especially for someone who just measured 7-foot-2 and 282 books at the NBA Draft Combine.

Clingan profiles as a true rim protector, aided by his nearly 7-foot-7 wingspan and 9-foot-7 standing reach. It’s unclear if Rockets executives will actually use this pick to select a player from this year’s class, but Clingan has been the popular pick in recent mock drafts for the Rockets at number three.

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