Rockets draft Usman Garuba, Josh Christopher in late first round

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The Rockets concluded a massive first-round haul in the 2021 NBA draft by selecting Real Madrid forward Usman Garuba and Arizona State guard Josh Christopher at No. 23 and No. 24 overall, respectively. Houston had acquired those picks via prior trades with Portland and Milwaukee.

Here’s a quick summary of both Garuba and Christopher from Kevin O’Connor’s 2021 NBA draft guide at The Ringer:

Garuba (6-foot-8, 230 pounds) is young but has clear upside. He’s a boulder driving to the rim, a good playmaker, and he’s made steady progress as a shooter. Long-term, he could end up being a steal. There’s a chance he could also help sooner as a strong, versatile defender in the frontcourt.

Christopher (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) could become a microwave scorer in the NBA, but he also brings great defensive potential. He’s a good player to bet on.

O’Connor’s draft guide lists OG Anunoby and Kenneth Faried as players that Garbua has “shades of,” while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nick Young are listed as comparables for Christopher.

Stick with Rockets Wire throughout Thursday night for reaction from Houston general manager Rafael Stone and interviews with each of the four first-round prospects selected by the Rockets. Earlier in the round, Houston took Jalen Green at No. 2 and Alperen Sengun at No. 16 (via a trade with Oklahoma City). All four are only 19 years old.

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