Friday, June 27, 2008

Grading the draft: Houston Rockets

I'm going to try and post some grades for the whole league (hopefully), but I'm not sure how long this will take me. Hopefully the trades will die down for a while so I won't go crazy changing any reviews. I'll start off with Houston since they're my team and the future team of bandwagon fans everywhere. This will probably be the longest and most in depth so don't get spoiled. The Rockets entered the draft with the 25th and 54th pick.

Going into the draft Daryl Morey of the Rockets led many to believe they were after a swingman to back up the 2 and 3 spots. They wanted a defender, a scorer, with length, and they wanted him to contribute now. That pretty much pointed to Brandon Rush who was projected to go in the 20s for some time. Unfortunately, his stock shot up and the Rockets couldn't trade up. Morey believes in getting the best player available if you're picking late, regardless of any need in the rotation. Which is why when the Rockets picked Nicolas Batum every expert in the country said "whaaat?", surely Morey must have taken a buffet break only to have a crazed fan call in the pick to simply piss off the Spurs (who, with the next pick, planned on taking Batum). What happened next is a bit confusing, but I promise you it only shows how great Morey is at his job.

The Rockets were high on Donte Greene all along, but weren't sure he would be available. Many projections had him going in the late teens. As he continued to fall and Morey realized they had a shot at him, he went to work. Realizing he could possibly get Donte (or the free-falling Arthur) a few picks later, he struck a deal with Portland, who coveted Batum, to draft Batum for them before SA could take him, in exchange for Portland's 27th pick (which would be darrel arthur) and their 33rd (which would be Dorsey). Once again, that trade was Batum for Arthur and Dorsey. Next, they contacted the Grizz, who had picked Greene with the 28th, and traded Arthur for Greene AND a 2009 second rounder. So basically the rockets gave them the 27th for the 28th and their second rounder next year. The Rockets then selected Maarty Leunen with their own 54th pick.

So what the hell was all that about, why not just pick Arthur with the 25 they originally had? Why not take Greene, if that is who they ended up with anyway? Both were available at 25! Crazy, right? Well maybe to ESPN, who is under the impression the Rockets just traded Arthur for Greene. Their review asks the same questions and they apparently don't know about the 2009 second round pick the Rockets stole from the grizz in the Greene deal. So let's review. They went in with the 25th and 54th. Came out with the 28th, 33rd, and 54th, and memphis' 2009 second rounder, without giving up cash, their own picks, or their own players. Keep in mind the Grizz will still suck next year, so that second round pick should be early. Morey has hinted he plans on using it as trade bait at the trading deadline, probably along with bobby jax's expiring contract. They may just get their scoring swingman afterall. Genius, right? Right.

Greene is seen as a potential Rashard Lewis clone, unfortunately, that also means he's in love with the perimeter shot. Greene shot a wild 7 treys per game at Syracuse. Wayy too many for a SF/PF. His stock probably dropped because of that. He spend his freshman year becoming a spot up shooter and not focusing enough inside. However, he DOES have an inside game. He does everything fairly well. Joey dorsey is of course a shorter Ben wallace, but with more hops so i guess it evens out. Yes, he has no offense, but the Rockets desperately need his athleticism, strength, and defense down low next to Yao. He's a smart defender and can creat some matchup problems for the other team since he's only 6'8, but can guard anything from a small forward to a center. Even the NFL wanted to give him a try out, that's how freakishly athletic he is at his size. He, unlike Wallace, KNOWS he cant shoot, so he doesn't. He's like a stronger, quicker, and bigger Chuck Hayes, but not as great of a passer. I'm guessing Houston is hoping he can improve in that area and eventually Hayes will be shown the door. Personally i love this pick since Dorsey is NBA-ready now, adds to an already great defense, and provides a wide body, which was heavily needed in the playoffs, and they basically got him for nothing. Maarty Leunen is basically a Steve Novak clone, but a better rebounder. This is bad, but good. Novak has worked out on offense for Houston, but his defense is MIA. So is Leunen's, but if he can play just slightly better D, rebound better, and just bring the same beautiful jumpshot, then that's an improvement over Novak. For now Leunen will be stashed overseas.

A quick piece on Chris Douglas-Roberts. Morey mentioned they didn't pick CDR because he didnt work well in Houston's system. He's not consistent from 3 point range and he didn't have many plays ran for him in college. He did agree with what I mentioned in the shooting guard preview, and that is CDR doesn't get much separation from the defender on his shots and that's not good in the NBA.

Morey also mentioed they're looking to add 1 or 2 FA this summer and hoping to get someone at the trade deadline. I know Houston didn't trade half their team or shake up their rotation, perhaps they didnt go for the home run hit or the touchdown, but what they did do is get some extra yardage by managing the clock well and getting some extra posessions, while keeping the drive alive. When the touchdown throw isn't there, thats all you can ask for from a team

Possible roster for the season:
Battier/ Novak/Greene
Tmac/ Head



DP said...

You guys are hitting everything on point today. I guess I HAVE to post something today. Brooks is the future point for the Rockets so I look for him to get more burn this year. I hate Greene. He thinks that he is better than what he really is. Donte, YOU ARE NOT CARMELO. Get over it. The best player on the Cuse squad was Devendorf before he got injured. Donte just felt that he had to average 25 a game to be a beast. He averaged 17 points but he shot like 20 times a game. I just don't like his style of play but hopefully he can prove my ass wrong. play wit it.

Hursty said...

RV, that overview of the rockets movements was great. Really 1st class. Only team I rated higher throughout draft week were the Bucks. They did an excellent job all round, seems those math grad harvard/oxford type fellas know what they are doing.... GO HOUSTON!

Portland and the pacers/raptors both did great jobs too.

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