June 29, 2023
(HOUSTON) — Houston Rockets fans came together at POST Houston Thursday night anticipating who the new member(s) of the NBA franchise would be. After months of speculation, the fans finally found out who will wear a Rockets uniform next season.
“With the fourth pick in the 2023 NBA draft, the Houston Rockets select Amen Thompson, point guard from Oakland, California and Overtime Elite,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced. Sixteen draft picks later, Silver announced the Rockets’ second pick, Villanova forward Cam Whitmore.
The event was held at a historical landmark which was a post office in the 1960s. In 1984, the building was named after Houston native and Civil Rights icon, Barbara Jordan. Jordan was the first Southern Black female legislator to be elected into the U.S. Congress. Purchased by Lovett Commercial in 2015, the building is now a cultural center, which hosts different events throughout the year.
The draft party had various activities for guests including games, photo booths, and an art gallery to enjoy. While food and drinks were served in the food court, guests also enjoyed performances by the Rockets’ Clutch City Dancers, Rockets’ mascot, Clutch the Bear, and the Launch Crew. Rockets legends Calvin Murphy, Mario Ellie, Steve Francis, and Gerald Green also made appearances and signed autographs for fans.
The Houston Rockets hope their new teammates, Thompson and Whitmore, will be the next legends. Whitmore was the Rockets’ second pick. This is the third consecutive year that the Rockets have had a high draft pick. The team had the second pick in 2021 and the third pick in 2022. Those picks brought in Jalen Green and Jabari Smith Jr.
“We kind of perceived this summer as the end of stage one. And probably the most important thing about stage one of our rebuilding process was to infuse the organization with talented, young players, and I think we’ve done a good job of that,” said Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone.
With the hiring of the new Rockets head coach, Ime Udoka, and the additions of some veteran players, the young team will look to win more games next season. For the past two seasons, the Rockets have not won more than 25 games in the 82-game season.
When Thompson was announced as the fourth pick, the fans erupted into a loud cheer. Sixteen picks later, they did the same for Whitmore. The Whitmore pick was a surprise as he was expected to be drafted as a top-seven pick. But he fell all the way to 20, which was when the Rockets had their second pick.
Now that the 2023 NBA draft has concluded, The Rockets look forward to free agency and the NBA Summer League coming up in the next few weeks. The draft party may have ended for Rockets fans, but they are excited for more things to come this summer.