NBA 2015 Draft: Rockets Should Seriously Consider Christmas & Connaughton at 32
Recently at Space City Scoop we’ve been highlighting which prospect the Rockets should focus on for their 18th pick with point guards like Tyus Jones, Jerian Grant and Cameron Payne receiving the most attention given their back court needs. But, we shouldn’t forget the Rockets have another pick early in the second round at 32. This pick could actually serve to add some depth and there are two key individuals I hope the Rockets consider if they are still on the board:
Mar 2, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Rakeem Christmas (25) handles the ball during the first half of a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Rakeem Christmas: Scanning the pundits mock drafts I’m literally in shock this prospect isn’t in most of their top 30 selections. He is a player who could suit up immediately and provide reserve help off the bench and has the potential to grow into a valuable asset.
At 23.5 years old, he is 6’10 and has an NBA ready body weighing 243 pounds. He is one of the more mature athletes on the board as he remained in College to grow his game which translated in his senior year at Syracuse. This past season he posted 17.5 points, 9 rebounds, 1.5 assists per game and had a PER of 26.8. He’s athletic, talented, a block specialist with his 7’3” wing span and has a high I.Q. As I mentioned yesterday in the mock draft he has the ability to possibly turn into another Draymond Green!
While the Rockets do have depth in the front court specifically at the power forward position, they may want to use Terrence Jones as trade bait to add depth to the point guard position and Christmas should fill Jones role as he provides similar (if not a higher ceiling) to do that.
The other player which I really hope the Rockets focus in on is one I think many teams lost focus on because he played more of a team ball role at his College and it was assumed he would be heading to Major League Baseball after being drafted in the 4th round by the Baltimore Orioles:
Mar 28, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard/forward Pat Connaughton (24) dunks ahead of Kentucky Wildcats forward Karl-Anthony Towns (12) during the second half in the finals of the midwest regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Connaughton: who is also a senior having played his full College career at Notre Dame. In case you aren’t familiar this is the player who was selected in the 4th round by the Baltimore Orioles and boasts a 92 mile hour fast ball.
He’s a shooting guard who is 6’5″ and brings with him a solid defensive presence with his ability to rebound well from his position and can also hit the outside shot. His averages don’t do his game justice though he did post: 12.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
The thing about Connaughton is he’s athletic which you can’t teach. At the recent combine he posted some numbers that were head scratching especially considering much of his competition was in the 6’10 or taller range:
Maximum Vertical Leap: 44 inches – First (and second highest ever registered)
Standing Vertical Leap: 37.5 – First
Lane Agility: 10.74 seconds – Tied for first
NBA Shuttle – 3.08 seconds – Fourth
3/4 Court Sprint – 3.20 seconds – Tied for first
Those are some pretty heady numbers! &
While we have the best in the business at the shooting guard position, you have to look at Connaughton as an athlete and adding depth to your squad. His presence alone would add talent and more importantly he’s focused and tough as nails.
Seth Davis from CBS and Turner calls Connaughton the Kawhi Leonard type player of this draft. If that isn’t reason enough to draft him I’m not sure what is!
So settle in, get your cold bevvies and snacks ready as we hunker down to watch the NBA 2015 Draft and see who all the teams select. Remember to join us on @spacecity_scoop as we live tweet during the game and join the conversation.
Come on Daryl let’s get some great picks.
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