Rockets News

Houston Rockets select Chinanu Onuaku with 37th pick of 2016 NBA Draft

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Feb 20, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) shoots the ball as Louisville Cardinals center Chinanu Onuaku (32) defends during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals won 71-64. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 20, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) shoots the ball as Louisville Cardinals center Chinanu Onuaku (32) defends during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. The Cardinals won 71-64. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
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The Houston Rockets selected two front court  players with their second round  Chinanu Onuaku was the player selected with the 37th pick.

In our 2016 NBA Draft Prospect Series writer Daniel Zepeda offered amazing insight into the newest Rockets player:

From Louisville, center Chinanu Onuaku is one of the top defensive big men in the draft. At just 19 years old, Onuaku was second in the nation in Defensive Rating (84.9) and third in the Atlantic Coast Conference with 2.0 blocks per game. And if you pair him with future Rocket’s starting center Clint Capela, you’ve got the makings of a great defensive pair of rim protectors.

Onuaku also had a strong outing at the Draft combine. He tallied 11 points, seven rebounds, two blocks, two assists on 4-6 shooting in 21 minutes of the first day. His second outing, he scored 10 points while going 5-7 from the field to go along with three rebounds, three blocks and three steals while maintaining a strong defensive presence according to several scouts watching.

He’s also a solid rebounder for his size and position. Chinanu Onuaku averaged 8.5 rebounds per game which was almost doubled from the 4.6 boards he averaged in his freshman campaign. Several scouts have also noted that his vertical leap is impressive for a 6’10”-245 lb power forward/center. His defensive prowess  and rebounding tenacity make him an all but extinct big man that the NBA could stand to gain from.

Offensively, Onuaku’s game is limited. But, you don’t find a ton of great, even solid, 19-year old prospects, so it shouldn’t be a huge area of concern for NBA general managers. Onuaku shot 62 percent from the field last season and averaged 9.9 points per game. He also has one of the best court visions at his position, as he’s shown good passing for a center and ability to hit the right man at the right time with the ball. Whether it be a teammate cutting to the basket or a wing on the three-point line, Onuaku has improved tremendously as a passer from when he first came to Louisville.

For the full article on Onuaku click here

Tell us what you think of the pick and make sure you check out our other Draft prospects from the series so you can be fully up to speed on the players teams will be senidng to Summer League.

By the way though it is impossible to predict the draft I did correctly have Zhou Qi being selected by the Rockets. Further I earmarked Denzel Valentine and Juan Hernangomez as two players who would vault up the ladder into the lottery. I was off by one spot as they both made the top 15.

And, I also correctly predicted the flurry of trade activity. It may not have reached the crazy level I foresaw, however let’s wait for the dust to settle as there are sure to be more trades coming once poison pill contract situations are resolved.

NOTE:  a poison pill is something the NBA calls a contract that holds a player at a certain value until their new contract kicks in. For example, Terrence Ross of the Raptors signed an extension that doesn’t kick in until July. If you’ve ever played with the ESPN trade machine you know teams have to match-up salaries to equivalent value for the trade to be accepted.. Hence if the Raptors were to trade Ross now he would be valued at approximately $3 million. Whereas a trade occurring when his contract kicks in this July would increase that value  to over $10 million. Big difference! (and though I won’t get into too many details on the Raptors one has to wonder by selecting 2 draftees who can both play center if that’s not the plan ie. for Toronto to package one of them (Poeltl?) with Ross to use as barter to go get the starting stretch power forward they desire.)

Next: SCS Editor 2016 NBA Mock Draft

Next: An unappreciated Valentine

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