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Duke And The NBA Draft: A Paolo Banchero Update

So Houston seems intrigued

Duke v Wake Forest
WINSTON SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 12: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts after a dunk against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the second half of their game at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 12, 2022 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Duke won 76-64.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

As you probably know, the 2022 NBA Draft order is set and the top three picks will be made by Orlando, Oklahoma City and Houston.

Everyone keeps their cards close at this stage and the gamesmanship is intense. It’s also often pretty cutthroat.

But one thing is clear: The Houston Rockets have some interest in Banchero. They met with him at the draft combine according to multiple sources.

That indicates an interest obviously but nothing more and you can’t be sure he’ll be available at #3. One link below suggests concerns about how he’ll fit with Houston.

The thing is that there are concerns about all three top projected picks - Banchero, Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.

For Banchero, the concern is that he may not have that much upside. For Smith, it’s that he’s very athletic but his skill set is incomplete. And for the famously thin Holmgren, no one can be sure he’ll gain enough weight to survive in a highly physical NBA.

If you accept that, then Banchero, the most polished of the three, is the safest bet.