ESPN’s David Thorpe on Morris: “He’s a home run.”

I won’t bother quoting the article because it’s a must-read in totality, but you can access it here, via the Chronicle.  Just fascinating insight from one of the most respected judges of talent in the industry.

In honesty, Thorpe’s analysis almost awakened the child within me.  He touches on Morris’ versatile skillset and potential to bully opposing small forwards inside.  It’s exciting to consider the possibilities.  We focus so much on vertical leaps and wingspans that sometimes, we just forget about the ‘ballers.’ Dunking from the free throw line is nice, but you don’t want a 6’8 badass with handles and a mean streak trucking down opponents inside?  How do Paul Pierce’s combine numbers stack up against clowns like Trevor Ariza?

Thorpe calls Patterson the steal of last year’s draft and says Morris has the potential to be, for this year, the same.  After seeing PP’s impact on games late last season upon replacing an injured Luis Scola, you just can’t wait for the season to get underway.

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Morning-after reactions to the Houston Rockets’ 2011 draft performance

A lot of thoughts.  First, I recommend heading over to SBNation’s TheDreamshake for in-depth pick by pick coverage of yesterday’s event.

One thing I want to touch on is my attitude towards the draft itself, in general.  It used to be something I regarded with complete apathy, and for good reason.  There was little chance anyone Carrol Dawson selected, even a first-rounder, would have any impact on the team so why become emotionally invested in the process?  That’s changed.  With Morey at the helm, if it’s a first-rounder, there’s a pretty good chance the player selected will be on your television screen for extended periods in the near future.  On a night when the team selected two players in the first round, there’s much reason for excitement.

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The Rockets pull another mulligan.

Two summers in a row, while the rest of the NBA world seems to traffic in the kind of high-stakes rumors that make Peter Vescey’s palms sweaty and heart skip a beat, the Houston Rockets made two presumably heady, low-budget moves by signing Trevor Ariza and Brad Miller in consecutive summers. And apparently, for the second summer in a row, Daryl Morey decided he didn’t like the deal after only a year and shipped out the offending contract to take on players on rookie contracts. The departure of Miller will certainly end an era in hilariously depressing ends of important late-season games (and will definitely kill our hip quotient), but this move signifies something about Morey that almost seems to make him better than infallible: self-awareness.

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Houston Rockets select Marcus Morris at #14, acquire Jonny Flynn and Donatas Motiejunas via Minnesota

via ESPN:

The Houston Rockets have reached an agreement on a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolvesto acquire guard Jonny Flynn and the rights to No. 20 overall pick Donatas Motiejunas, according to sources with knowledge of the trade.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets will send the rights to Nikola Mirotic, the 23rd pick, and No. 38 in Thursday’s draft, along with veteran center Brad Miller and a future first-round pick from the Memphis Grizzlies, to acquire Flynn and Montiejunas.

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Drafting for Context

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 »

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