On the eve of the NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets front office has their hands full as they work to strike gold with the 18th pick tomorrow night. It comes as no surprise that the Rockets are in the market for a point guard, and as of now it appears if they’ll be looking for that guard in the draft as opposed to leveraging their pick in a trade.
James Harden has had no problem expressing his desire for the Rockets to add another playmaker to their team, per Pro Basketball Talk, and that seems like a more than reasonable request given Harden’s career-high usage percentage at 31.3%, which was the 6th highest usage percentage in the league this season. While the draft may not be the most immediate, or ideal, solution to this problem it may be their only reasonable option. The reason for this is that Houston is hoping to keep last season’s team together, a first for the Rockets in quite some time, and it would be difficult to put together an attractive package for a guard like Ty Lawson without giving up crucial pieces.
One player that Houston almost certainly has on their draft board is Jerian Grant out of Notre Dame. At 6’4.25” and a wingspan of 6’7.5”, Grant would bring length to the backcourt and a proven ability to control the offensive side of the ball. His three-point shot isn’t quite where the Rockets would hope for it to be, as he shot a mere 31.6% for the Fighting Irish last season, but he more than makes up for that with his ability to get to the rim and create shots for other players.
Alternatively, the Rockets could look in a different direction and select Tyus Jones out of Duke. What Jones lacks in size (standing slightly above 6’0”) he makes up for with a strong shot from deep, where he made 37.9% of his shots, and a knack for running the pick-and-roll, which the Rockets utilize frequently. Jones also fits Houston’s system nicely due to his ability to run the fastbreak stunningly, something he proved last season as he led the NCAA in transition assists with 86. Having played with the likes of Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow, Jones has proven that he is a capable floor general that can score when called upon, but more importantly simply does whatever is required of him to put points on the board.
Regardless of the direction the Rockets take tomorrow night, I would be shocked if we finished the draft without fulfilling our need for a point guard. The Houston administration undoubtedly has their work laid out for them, but we’ve done far more with less on draft night (hey, Chandler Parsons) and with a relatively deep draft class like this years I am hopeful that we might find an answer to our point guard woes when the 18th pick comes around.
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