The Houston Rockets are currently on pace to maintain the worst record in the NBA for the third straight season. Going 13-45 at the All-Star break, it’s clear the Rockets won’t be competing for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this year.
As such, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta is clearly aware of where his team is headed, and only seems to have one thing on his mind: the 2023 NBA Draft.
If the season ends with the Rockets having the worst record in the league, they would be among the three teams with the best chances of getting the first overall pick. Last season, however, they didn’t, as the Orlando Magic had their ping pong ball drafted before the Rockets, who were drafted after them.
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In fact, the Rockets didn’t get the No. 1 pick in each of the past two seasons when they were the worst in the NBA.
But it seems Fertitta is paying attention to draft prospects, especially when it comes to one that experts say is the best in recent memory: Frenchman Victor Wembanyama.
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A recent interview with KPRC Houston caught Fertitta at Galveston’s Mardi Gras celebration on Saturday, revealing his mindset regarding the Rockets.
«Thank God we have 10 days off,» he said. «Pray for Victor!»
Wembanyama is 7-foot-2, 229 pounds, and has handles and a jump shot like a guard. At just 19 years old, evaluators believe he can be one of the best NBA players in the league by the time he steps on the court, so he’s projected to be first overall.
Playing for the Metropolitans of France’s LNB Pro A league, Wembanyama is averaging 22.2 points per game with 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists, as well as 3.1 blocks.
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But again, the NBA made the «tanking» not fly within the league. Houston is a team that would clearly benefit from doing so at this point in the season due to their woeful record, but the three worst teams in the league each have a 14% chance of their ball being drafted for the No. 1 pick.
Still, Fertitta is hopeful that Wembanyama will be his to possibly turn around the franchise’s performance.
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The Rockets have just 24 games left in the regular season before the draft becomes their top priority in the offseason.