As with most things, context is important when considering the Rockets’ options in this year’s NBA Draft. Most pundits, myself included, have suggested the team’s primary needs are at the center and small forward positions, Houston having traded Battier and the world having little confidence in Yao’s return. This idea was reinforced last season by the fact that neither former Rocket nice guy (Yes, I’m referring to Yao as a former player. Sorry, guys, but I think it’s probably appropriate at this point.) was actually succeeded on the court by a replacement. Budinger ably stepped into the starting role for Battier in February, but, after the way he played to start the season, I’m still not completely comfortable with Bud partying his way to that regular starting gig, especially since Courtney Lee, playing out of position, provided his only relief minutes after the All-Star break. And, as for your replacement center, everyone who suited up for the Rockets at the five last season was playing out of position.
But here is where we have to consider context. Just because we didn’t see their obvious replacements on the court before May doesn’t mean they weren’t necessarily on the roster. As it has been noted elsewhere, Rick Adelman’s departure was rumored to have been fueled by personnel disputes with Mr. Morey, who one can assume didn’t trade valuable assets for both Terrence Williams and Hasheem Thabeet just to see them look good in their respective suits. So depending on how much faith the geek squad has in these two lottery cast-offs, Morey and Co. could, in theory, be considering more than just centers and small forwards in this draft.
So who will the Rockets choose? Read More
via Draft buzz: Rockets eyeing No. 2 pick? – TrueHoop Blog – ESPN:
Minnesota has four trade scenarios on its board for the No. 2 pick. As of midday Wednesday, the Timberwolves now are leaning toward Arizona’s Derrick Williams over Kentucky’s Enes Kanter of Turkey. But the Wolves are actively listening to offers for No. 2. Phoenix and Washington are two teams that aren’t involved, but Houston, which owns pick No. 14, has proposed at least 10 different options for Minnesota’s No. 2.
Would have to be Kevin Martin involved in any deal for the #2, one would think.
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ESPN’s Chad Ford, in his latest mock draft, has big man Jonas Valanciunas falling to the Rockets due to his buyout dispute.
It’s funny because while such a stroke of good luck would be just what the doctor ordered, one can almost even now foresee the reaction from some in the local media over acquiring a prospect who can not yet come over; delayed gratification seems a bit difficult to grasp.
In any event, it is probably a worthwhile bet that the team will not remain at both 14 and 23. As I explained last year, if the team selects at 23, they really like who they picked; the lower 20′s in the draft are financial no-man’s land. You’ll either see Morey package the picks to move up or trade the #23 to either move down or for cash.
In other news, Yahoo touches on Josh Smith’s alleged interest in Houston as a potential destination. If the deal were for Scola, show me where to sign, but aside from that, I’d have some slight concerns. Overall though, it could only be a net gain to acquire a shot-blocking forward, not even taking into consideration the strides Smith has taken to tone down his chucking tendencies.
Posted in columns Tagged Huq's Pen