Rockets News

2016 Houston Rockets Draft Prospect Series: Dragan Bender, Croatia

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; General view of the full first round draft board at the conclusion of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 25, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; General view of the full first round draft board at the conclusion of the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets enter the upcoming 2016 NBA Draft without a top draft pick by virtue of making the post season. Unfettered the Rockets still hope to nab a star prospect with the potential to effect immediate results.  Over the next month SCS will look at the draft prospects  with a view to team fit and what moves would need to occur to get that pick. Is Dragan Bender a prospect worth trading for?

Draft Prospect:

Specifics:

  • Height: 7-1
  • Weight: 216
  • Country: Croatia- Caplijina, Bosnia
  • Position: Power Forward
  • Age: 18
  • Reach: 9’3″
  • Wingspan: 7’2″
  • College or Pro League: Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel

Current Rank:

ESPN Chad Ford: 5th

Draft Express: 3rd

NBA Scott Howard Cooper: 3rd

Bleacher Report: 3rd

The Skills:

As per ESPN’s Chad Ford his top 3 best traits are his ability to penetrate, his court vision and his high I.Q.

Dragan Bender’s versatility to defend multiple positions and his improving 3 point shot will lead to his inevitable comparisons to Kristaps Porzingis. And like surprise rookie sensation Bender will need to add strength and grit.

Honors and Awards:

  • Israeli League All Star (2016)
  • Two time Israeli League Cup Champion (2015, 2016)

The Fit:

If Bender turns out to be anything close to the talent of Porzingis he’ll be a player sure to gain tons of attention heading into the draft. The fact he’s been cited for having a better handle than the Zinger bodes well for the young Croatian especially if he keeps improving his long range shot.

Since Bender’s three point shot isn’t exactly at a “Rockets level” yet i.e. he doesn’t hit it with consistency he may or may not be of interest to Morey. Considering Clint Capela is the likely starting center next season does Bender then offer an argument to trade existing pieces to get the pick which currently is a consensus  third selection.

Final Thoughts

Notably the Rockets enter the summer with 2 power forwards on the roster who are both free agents, but of the restricted variety (meaning Houston can match any offer another team makes).

More from Space City Scoop

And, there’s the rub: Donatas Motiejunas value has likely dropped due to the Pistons choosing to renege on the trade deadline deal. The report was he failed the medical, but it’s more likely Stan Van Gundy elected to go a different direction with the addition of Tobias Harris.

The feeling by most is the Rockets will let the other restricted free agent Terrence Jones walk after he was relegated to the end of the bench to finish the season and wasn’t utilized in the playoffs. . Depending on who the new Rockets coach is may determine what happens to Jones.

Having said that, it’s unlikely Morey will make any moves to trade for Bender.

Be sure to check out our continuing Draft Prospect Series and our Year End Player Reviews!

Next: SCS Roundtable Part 1?

Next: Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 2

Next: Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 3

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