Reed Sheppard's toughness led to the Houston Rockets' popularity in the 2024 NBA Draft

Thanks to his good shooting performance, Reed Sheppard was a top talent for the 2024 NBA Draft. He played one season for the Kentucky Wildcats and had the best three-point shooting percentage in the nation, hitting 52.1 percent of his shots and averaging 12.5 points in 33 games.

However, Sheppard became the Houston Rockets' top talent because he had other strengths besides his shooting ability. Coach Ime Udoka and general manager Rafael Stone were already impressed with Sheppard before the draft because of his toughness on the court.

“We had dinner last night and got to know the family,” Udoka said at Sheppard's introduction press conference Tuesday. Stacey said it a couple of times: 'You can't be soft.' I know he's heard that his whole life. I heard it about five times last night. I know I don't have to tell him. If he gets soft, I just have to call mom.”

In the 2023-24 season, Sheppard averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists in 33 career games with the Kentucky Wildcats. By selecting Sheppard, the Rockets got the best shooting prospect, someone who can create more space on the court.

However, his toughness is consistent with Udoka's teachings as coach of the Rockets. Last season, several players showed that Udoka's coaching and teachings were indeed tough. Still, all of the young players, like Alperen Sengun and Jalen Green, showed their development.

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