Ranking Each Houston Rockets Player by Trade Value

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2012

Ranking Each Houston Rockets Player by Trade Value

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    The Houston Rockets have a roster replete with young assets, many of whom are still trying to familiarize themselves with new surroundings.

    Recent additions like James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik give the Rockets a stable core to build around, and the trio of signings will be key to the team's future success.

    A stable of untapped potential gives the Rockets some flexibility in the trade market. There will likely be a team that general managers around the league turn to come February.

    Here are the rankings of the Houston Rockets players based on their trade value.

    Note: All stats are accurate as of Wednesday, December 12th.

15. Scott Machado

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    Scott Machado won't see much action at the NBA level this season, as the Rockets' depth at point guard currently has him situated in the D-League.

    An undrafted rookie free agent out of Iona College, Machado likely won't make an impact for the Rockets until Toney Douglas is out of the picture.

    However, Machado has impressed in his brief time in the D-League, posting averages of 12.3 points and 6.4 assists per game, per DraftExpress.

14. Royce White

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    This ranking assumes that Royce White will actually step on the basketball court sometime in the next few years, which, as of late, has not looked like a safe bet.

    White possessed loads of potential coming out of Iowa State this summer, but a very public anxiety disorder has since dashed White's hopes of playing in The Association.

    A stout frontcourt presence at 6'8'' and 260 pounds, White could be a nice complementary piece for any NBA team, but his off-the-court issues remain a dark cloud hanging over his otherwise intriguing talent.

    White's status will be one to watch as the season continues.

13. Toney Douglas

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    Through the first quarter of the NBA season, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the Houston Rockets' best point guard has been Toney Douglas.

    Coming off of the bench this season, Douglas is shooting over 42 percent from beyond the arc, but that's about the only range he's been efficient from.

    Shooting a meager 37 percent from the floor, Douglas and starter Jeremy Lin have failed to produce the way the Rockets would have liked, but Douglas has produced more positives than negatives in his 19 minutes per game.

    According to HoopsHype, Douglas has a team option in his contract that can be exercised next season, which could make him a cost-effective trade option for other teams at the deadline.

12. Donatas Motiejunas

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    Making his NBA debut in 2012, Donatas Motiejunas has quickly learned that playing time will be hard to come by in a crowded Houston Rockets' frontcourt.

    The Lithuanian big man is an agile seven-footer, and at 220 pounds possesses the ability to play down in the post or outside as a stretch 4.

    Motiejunas' size makes him a potential offensive powerhouse, but his lack of quickness could keep him off of the floor, particularly when it comes to guarding more angular power forwards.

    While it may to be too early to speculate about a potential trade involving the international commodity, his potential is a great asset that the Rockets could take advantage of down the line.

11. Cole Aldrich

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    A filler in October's blockbuster James Harden-Kevin Martin swap, former University of Kansas standout Cole Aldrich has had a tough time finding playing time in his first few seasons in the NBA.

    Situated behind Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison when he was with the Oklahoma Thunder, Aldrich has found himself in a similar situation with the Houston Rockets.

    Managing just 8.3 minutes per game this season (a career high, actually) Aldrich's impact with his new club has been minimal, as centers Omer Asik and Greg Smith trump him on the depth chart.

    Aldrich holds very little trade value across the league, but a team in desperate need of a reserve center could come to like him if the price were low enough.

10. Greg Smith

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    Where on earth did Greg Smith come from? All of a sudden the Rockets have a quality backup behind Omer Asik, as the undrafted free agent has quickly surpassed first-round draft picks Cole Aldrich and Donatas Motiejunas en route to regular minutes.

    Smith doesn't have the size of a prototypical center (6'10'', 250 pounds), but he's able to throw his weight around in the post and establish good position, and it's showed lately.

    In last week's 107-105 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, Smith compiled 21 points and nine rebounds in 24 minutes of work (one more minute than Asik) as he refused to back down from a matchup with Dwight Howard.

    Smith is still developing, but if the early stages of his NBA career have been any indication, he should be a valuable piece of the Rockets' long-term plans.

9. Daequan Cook

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    Daequan Cook has seen his minutes and production fall off since joining the Houston Rockets, but that doesn't mean the one-time Three-Point Contest champion doesn't have something left to offer a contender.

    Playing a limited role behind names like Carlos Delfino and Chandler Parsons, Cook has struggled to the tune of 35.8 percent shooting from the field (39 percent from deep).

    Cook's value would be much higher were he affiliated with a team short on quality bench players or three-point shooters, but unfortunately that's not what the Rockets are.

    The good news for Cook's future is that his contract (per HoopsHype) expires after this season. With an expiring deal, Cook could find his name floating around the rumor mill at the trade deadline.

8. Carlos Delfino

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    What you see with Carlos Delfino is what you get. Delfino likes to hoist shots, and he does so without regard for efficiency.

    With a sub-11 PER this season Delfino has proved that while he deserves minutes, his shot selection needs to be monitored closely.

    The Argentinian is shooting below 40 percent from every spot on the floor (excluding his 8-of-16 mark from mid-range) and is only making good on 33 percent of his three-point field-goal attempts, per NBA.com.

    Despite Delfino's shortcomings, he is a nice option to have stashed on the bench, especially for just $3 million this season and a team option worth the same amount next season.

7. Marcus Morris

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    A highly touted prospect who has yet to flourish down South, Marcus Morris is taking some encouraging steps toward being a productive NBA player in the near future.

    In his second season, Morris has seen his minutes triple (up from 7.4 to 20.4), posting averages of 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in relief of Patrick Patterson.

    A bright spot for Morris this season has been his above-average three-point shooting. Converting on 46 percent of his three-point attempts from above the break (per NBA.com), Morris provides the Rockets with another weapon on the perimeter.

    The next step for Morris will be refining his post game. So far this season, Morris is shooting a weak 42 percent on shots in the paint.

6. Patrick Patterson

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    Patrick Patterson's emergence has helped soften the blow of Marcus Morris' slowly developing low-post game.

    In his third year out of Kentucky, Patterson has found a groove that has left him averaging 13.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

    Patterson has found a groove in the restricted area and from mid-range (shooting 70 and 46 percent, respectively, per NBA.com) and has played stout defense despite standing just 6'9''.

    Shooting 50 percent from the field, Patterson is beginning to look like a quality NBA starter, and in time, the Houston Rockets may have a real valuable asset on their hands.

5. Terrence Jones

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    Rookie Terrence Jones has yet to play significant minutes at the professional level, but his potential alone makes him one of the most valuable trade chips that Daryl Morey and the Houston Rockets possess.

    Jones has already made trips to and from the D-League over the last six weeks, which will undoubtedly become a trend throughout his rookie season.

    Although the Rockets continue to develop several other young pieces at the forward position, Jones' versatility makes him a dynamic two-way threat.

    Possessing elite length and athleticism, Jones proved he was a tenacious presence on the boards at the University of Kentucky, also showing that he's a willing and able defender.

    Jones' jump shot may take some time to round into form, but he has the tools to make an impact on the defensive end for the Rockets right away.

4. Jeremy Lin

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    It hurts to say, but Jeremy Lin has been a disappointment since signing with the Houston Rockets this summer.

    Lin's name has become sexier than his game, which is only good news if the Rockets want to fill empty seats at the Toyota Center.

    As Grantland's Zach Lowe mentions, the odds that the Rockets trade Lin are extremely slim, but it's an interesting thought to ponder now that James Harden is in town:

    Would they actually trade Lin, a potential marketing bonanza? Extremely unlikely. There is value in having two capable ball handlers against defenses increasingly bent on forcing teams to swing the ball from strong side to weak side, and it's early to pull the plug on an enticing player. Houston could also cut its cap figure by doing any number of less dramatic things, including declining what amounts to a second-year option on Carlos Delfino — himself trade-eligible on Saturday, and a useful piece for a good team in need of a backup shooter.

    The truth is, Lin has yet to develop into a true point guard, and it doesn't look like he's ever going to. Lin loves to dominate the ball and has a tendency to over-dribble out on the perimeter.

    Lin is firmly established as the point guard of the future for the Rockets, but in order to be an effective one, he's going to need to kick some bad habits.

3. Chandler Parsons

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    Let's get this out of the way early: It would be a big surprise if the Houston Rockets decided to trade Chandler Parsons.

    Why, you ask? Well, aside from blossoming into a terrific complement to James Harden, Parsons comes cheap to the Rockets, as he's due under $3 million over the next three years, per HoopsHype.

    If Parsons can sustain his current level of play all season, that $3 million will quickly multiply, because there's no question that he's outperforming his contract.

    Parsons is playing a whopping 37.6 minutes per game this season, second only to James Harden. In those 37.6 minutes, Parsons is averaging 15.6 points per game on 45 percent shooting (39 percent from three).

2. Omer Asik

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    Omer Asik will never be an offensive powerhouse, but then again, the Houston Rockets don't need him to be one. 

    Asik's true value comes on the defensive end, where he leads the Rockets with 11.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game.

    A necessary component of the team's retooling, Asik will be tasked with holding down the fort on defense while Patrick Patterson matures into a complete offensive complement.

    While many believed that four years and $25 million was a steep price to pay for an offensively challenged center, Asik has proved doubters wrong with some decent numbers (10.7 points per game on 53 percent shooting from the restricted area).

    What makes Asik so valuable is that he's one of the few NBA centers dedicated to perfecting his craft on defense, a trait which few of his peers possess.

1. James Harden

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    The star of the show in Houston for the foreseeable future is James Harden, the gifted scorer whose heavily bearded face has become a symbol of hope for the Rockets organization.

    Harden got off to a blistering start in his inaugural season with the Rockets, although he's fallen back to earth in recent weeks.

    A commanding presence on the ball, Harden is a renowned artisan when it comes to utilizing the pick-and-roll, although his shooting woes through 20 games this season have been a minor cause for concern.

    According to NBA.com, Harden is shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc, down four percent from last season. In addition, Harden is struggling to find his stroke from mid-range, where he's shot a meager 34 percent.

    Harden's five-year, $80 million contract extension makes him the centerpiece of the Rockets' future plans, as the team figures to build the team's roster around the dynamic playmaker.