Houston Rockets: Daily Rockets Science – The Draft That Could Have Been

Oct 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell (35) tries to pass out the ball to forward Sam Dekker (7) against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets forward Montrezl Harrell (35) tries to pass out the ball to forward Sam Dekker (7) against the Golden State Warriors during the first quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

After a lack luster season and a gentleman’s sweep from the playoffs, the Houston Rockets will watch tonight’s draft lottery with thoughts of what could have been

Should the Denver Nuggets end up with the top pick this evening it will only serve to remind Houston of the failed Ty Lawson experience. Chad Ford of ESPN lists the top prospects and offers an interesting lottery game. Had Houston kept their pick 7′ Henry Ellenson may have been finding his way to Houston as per Ford’s lottery game.

"Ellenson is the rare big man with a complete offensive game: size for position, athletic ability, the strength to dominate in the post, the shooting ability to stretch the floor and terrific rebounding and ball handling skills. His defense could use some work, but the Kevin Love comps aren’t far-fetched."

And so the hunt to fill the Houston Rockets head coaching position continues. As each day passes the long list of available candidates grows shorter either via the Rockets removing them from consideration or because they sign with other teams.

To wit, recently released from the Memphis Grizzlies coaching duties Dave Joeger took little time to sign on as the new Sacramento Kings head coach. This position is considered by most as a more volatile job than the Rockets. With the ever enigmatic DeMarcus Cousins, inept brain trust led by Vlade Divac and owner Vivac Ranadive whose inability to stay out of the day to day operations has made the Kings open for league wide criticism. ESPN covered the signing:

"“ The Kings didn’t disclose contract details, but sources told ESPN that Joerger agreed to a four-year deal worth $16 million, and the fourth year of the contract is a team option.”"

Last week Kenny Smith met with Rockets management, but based on comments made on Inside the NBA last night following the Western Conference Finals first game he won’t be standing court side in Houston.

ESPN says Smith has been told the Rockets are looking for an experienced coach, which does beg the question: why bother interviewing Smith at all?

"“Some of the information is sensitive when you’re talking to a team,” Smith said from Oakland, California, on TNT, site of Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. “We met, but after we met, I had great talks with Les Alexander afterwards for a couple of days, and we corresponded.”"

That brings the total interviews to seven as the Rockets had already met with former Houston players Sam Cassell and Kenny Smith, as well as Jeff Hornacek, current Rockets assistant Chris Finch, current Sixers assistant and former head coach of the Suns, Knicks and Lakers: Mike D’Antoni, former Cav’s head coach David Blatt, and of course the interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff who opted out of the process. Rumored to still be in line for consideration are recently released Pacer head coach Frank Vogel (though Vogel is said to have the lead on landing the vacant Orlando Magic job) and Hornets assistant Steven Silas.

The man most fans are hoping will end up back in Houston is current TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy and that choice is gaining traction Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports.

"With Van Gundy, it’s always been a question of whether he’s willing to leave his now decade-long life as a broadcaster for the rigors of coaching that left him burned out and exhausted when he was fired by the Rockets after a 52-win season in 2006-07."

That’s it for the Daily Rockets Science, stay tuned with SCS to keep up to date on coaching news and off season moves.

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

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 1

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 2

Next: Houston Rockets SCS Roundtable Part 3

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