The NBA had their annual Draft Lottery this past Tuesday and there were a few shockers at the top of the board. Philadelphia only ended up with one pick out of a possible three because of where two other teams fell. The Lakers jumped up to the #2 pick, while the Knicks fell down to #4 and likely won’t get one of the premiere centers in the draft.
The Houston Rockets weren’t even in the running for the Lottery as their pick they received from New Orleans moved from #14, the last spot in the lottery, to #18, four spots out just as the regular season ended. Since last week was about the prospects at the NBA Combine, now we will see who the Rockets will have a chance for at pick #18 and we’ll also let you know where the prospects we have gone over in the past will be headed.
Rockets, Round 1, Pick #18
The obvious pick here for most experts and analysts is Duke point guard Tyus Jones. CBS Sports Sam Vecenie and Yahoo Sports Jonathon Givnoy both agree that Jones skill set is a better fit for the Rockets than any of the remaining guards. Jones would be a solid addition and can play under the Rockets analytical system.
If Jones is gone or the Rockets find a flaw in his game before June 25th then the next man up could be Jerian Grant, the combo guard from Notre Dame. The Rockets would more than likely want him to play a little more traditional at the point guard spot, but his drive and tenacity can’t be underestimated.
These are the two picks that could really benefit the Rockets from where they stand in the draft, but whichever guard they don’t choose, the other will be selected at #19 by Washington or #21 by Dallas.
The guards are scattered around the draft and Houston could go big man first and leave the guard for Round 2 if they felt that suited them better.
Lastly, what if GM Daryl Morey was itching for the next best point guard and traded a few guys and the #18 pick for a top guard in the draft, Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell, they are the presumed #3 and #4 picks to Philly and the Knicks.
Houston Rockets, Round 2, Pick #32
The Rockets second-pick should even out their draft as they don’t need more guards than big men and vice versa. Assuming Houston goes point guard in Round 1, how about the Rockets go after LSU power forward Jarell Martin. One of the other resident CBS Sports experts Gary Parrish has the Rockets grabbing Martin; the 6’10” forward moves well and can dribble for his size. Even with Houston drafting Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones, injuries and a lack of production may force them to try to upgrade at the power forward spot.
NBA.com Scott Howard-Cooper believes the Rockets first-pick will go to a big man such as Montrezl Harrell out of Louisville, if that’s the case then Houston will be able to go guard with their second-pick. If Houston waits until the second-round to grab their guard, they will be looking at one of the Harrison twins from Kentucky. There are a few other players at the bottom of the draft that play the point guard position, but they are international players that aren’t yet accustomed to the NBA. Houston will need a guard to come in and back up Patrick Beverley immediately next season.
A few other notable players Houston could nab in the last round of the NBA Draft are the Syracuse power forward Chris McCullough, power forward Cliff Alexander from Kansas or even Terry Rozier from Louisville if he drops to the second-round.
For the last few months we have taken an in-depth look at some of the Rockets top prospects and their ties to the city. Now that the Lottery is filled out, we can see who may and may not be available from our list. A few of the players aren’t in the draft any longer and one hasn’t gotten a ton of exposure, you can head over to our Combine coverage for those details. Here are the players that are looking to be drafted and where Sports Illustrated’s Mock Draft has them:
Round 1, Pick #7 to the Denver Nuggets – Justise Winslow, Duke University
Justise was the highest-rated player we looked at over the last few months and he will definitely be chosen before the Rockets selection at #18. Lots of teams will be hoping for a chance to snag this hustler.
Round 1, Pick #10 to the Miami Heat – Myles Turner, University of Texas
Miami has bet on a big man out of UT before and Dexter Pittman didn’t quite work out. Turner will be able to play big minutes and learn from Chris Bosh and ‘Birdman’ assuming they are there next season.
Round 1, Pick #15 to the Atlanta Hawks – Kelly Oubre, Kansas Univeristy
The Atlanta Hawks, just as the Rockets, are a final four team in the playoffs and have also received a top-20 pick in the Draft, what a solid post-season for both clubs. Oubre would bring the wing defender that the Hawks desperately need in the East. There are a lot of great small forwards in the conference and he would have the pleasure of trying to stop them.
Round 1, Pick #23 to the Portland Trailblazers – Delon Wright, University of Utah
Delon would not only be joining his brother in Portland, but also a great back-court that include Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews. Some expect Wright to fall further than #23, but in a draft with the point guards spread out, this may be Portland’s best chance.
Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison was the only player left out of the first-round on our list. Harrison is projected to go in the early-to-mid second-round and will be wearing a team’s cap on Draft night.
Stay tuned to Space City Scoop for more Houston Rockets NBA Draft coverage as well as Playoffs and much more…
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