Houston Rockets assigned No. 4 pick in NBA Draft as Spurs win 1st overall

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023
Rockets learn NBA Draft Lottery fate during ESPN event Tuesday
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The Houston Rockets and new coach Ime Udoka are expected to learn where they select in next month's NBA Draft on Tuesday night.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Rockets escaped a worst-case scenario that could have seen them shifted to the No. 6 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

But after a commercial break during ESPN's coverage of Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery, the Rockets logo was the first out of the remaining top four to be revealed, meaning they would hold the No. 4 pick heading into next month's event.

The Charlotte Hornets and the Portland Trail Blazers, who both jumped from their pre-lottery positions to move Houston and the Detroit Pistons out of the top three, collected picks Nos. 3 and 2, respectively.

That meant that the San Antonio Spurs, an NBA club with a rich history with the Rockets, claimed the No. 1 overall pick and the right to select French teen phenom Victor Wembanyama.

With the fourth pick, Houston missed out on winning the top prize of the annual lottery while holding the best odds - a streak that's now three years running.

Heading into Tuesday night, the Rockets were hoping new head coach Ime Udoka's magic and luck from his time with the Celtics hadn't worn off. He was the on-stage representative for the ceremony.

Houston won just 23% of its games since 2020 when James Harden was traded away from the team. The Rockets picked up young cornerstones Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun, and Jalen Green since that time. But the true prize is French teen Wembanyama, who owner Tilman Fertitta wished for by name during an interview this past Galveston Mardi Gras season.

The Rockets will also hold the Los Angeles Clippers' first-round pick in the upcoming draft. LA earned a playoff spot and will not factor into the lottery.

Here's the full lottery results:

Don't miss the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 22, on ABC13.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC13 and ESPN.