Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
With talks of the Houston Rockets looking to trade Thomas Robinson for a first round pick, the question becomes who will they tkae with that pick. If the Hunt for Howard (R) is still in play, the pick will maybe be an overseas player that will get stashed and help the Rockets avoid the cap hit.
Here are three players the Rockets could be eyeing: Sergey Karasev, Dennis Schroeder and Rudy Gobert
Sergey Karasev 6’7″ 197 pounds from St. Petersburg, Russia
Sweet shooting lefty with a great deal of scoring acumen … Needs very little room to get his shot off, great at stretching the floor … Strong basketball IQ for a player who is yet to turn 20 … Has solid court vision/imagination and is a willing passer … Some ability to put the ball on the floor in the half court set … Shows toughness, fighting for rebounds, even with a lack of strength … Has spent the past year as a main scorer on a professional team with solid efficiency … Definitely seems to have a willingness to come over and play in the NBA, not much worry about a hold out … Will compete defensively and has nice size for either wing position …
Still relatively underdeveloped for the physical rigors of the NBA … Can be bothered by superior length and athleticism … An average athlete, this could really hurt him defensively on the pro level. Lacks great lateral speed making him a liability in isolation … Overall speed is less than ideal for a SG … Very inconsistent shooting from the midrange during his professional play … Spends too much time behind the arc and can fall in love with the long ball rather than mixing up his offensive repetoire … Will have to go through a drastic role change and culture change upon entry to the league … Needs quite a bit of time in the weight room before being considered as a rotation option at the NBA level
Dennis Schroeder 6’2″ 165 pounds from Braunschweig, Germany
Combine his jump-shot with his first step, open-court speed and ability to get teammates involved, and you have a pretty complete skill-set for a NBA point guard, even if he still clearly has to work on his ability to finish around the rim, as indicated by the paltry 44% he’s currently shooting from 2-point range in Germany. He’s a little non-chalant with his finishes, relying too heavily on floaters and struggling somewhat through contact, but this is an area he can improve on in time.
On the other end of the floor, Schroeder did an excellent job as well. He measured a solid 6-2 in shoes with an excellent 6-7 ¼ wingspan, and looked intent on using it every moment he was on the court. Schroeder’s lateral quickness might be the best of any point guard in this year’s draft class, as he’s able to put suffocating pressure on the ball in the full-court, bodying up his matchup and sliding with him every inch he takes up the court. He will need to continue to fill out his slender 168-pound frame, but there is a lot to like here despite his average size.
Schroeder has come a long way in the past year or so, both on and off the court. He appears to have matured with his body language and overall approach to the game, and did an excellent job of leading the World Team by example all week in Portland, which culminated in a big win over the American team on Saturday. He still has a ways to go with his decision making skills, as indicated by the 4.2 turnovers he’s averaging per-40 on the season, but he’s clearly on the right path now. He has a very good chance of going in the first round now, and could possibly even boost his stock into the top-20 with strong workouts over the next two months.
Rudy Gobert 7’2″ 238 pounds from Saint-Quentin, France
Gobert is a relatively mobile big man, quick off his feet, and exceptionally long. He’s not an off the charts athlete, though, as he looks somewhat heavy running the floor at times and is not terribly explosive in terms of his sheer leaping ability. He tested out fairly poorly at the NBA Combine in a number of different categories, even if it’s difficult to gauge exactly how he compares to his American peers in these tests as it was likely his first time encountering them.
Offensively, Gobert was not a very prolific option for Cholet this season, being responsible for just 9.3% of their total offensive possessions and scoring 14.7 points per-40 minutes, but being incredibly efficient in the looks he did receive. He made an outrageous 74% of his 2-point attempts this season, with most of his offense coming as a pick and roll finisher, off cuts, offensive rebounds and transition opportunities.
Gobert has incredibly soft hands, which in addition to his phenomenal wingspan give his guards an incredibly large radius they can throw the ball to around the basket. He catches virtually anything thrown his way, making him a terrific target for lobs, which helps explain his excellent efficiency. He’s solid on the offensive glass, pulling down 3.7 offensive rebounds per-40, which ranked among the top-15 players in Pro A. In addition to that, he also converts his free throw attempts at a decent clip (70%), which is surely a good sign for the future.
On the downside, Gobert is a fairly limited player if unable to simply catch and finish around the basket. He doesn’t show a very high skill-level with his back to the basket, not having the lower body strength needed to establish great position inside or a terribly diverse arsenal of footwork or post moves he can go to when his initial move is cut off. His lack of strength, balance and toughness makes it difficult for him to finish through contact in traffic, and he needs to continue to improve his left hand.