Analyzing Houston Rockets' Biggest Draft Needs

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Analyzing Houston Rockets' Biggest Draft Needs
Jason Miller/Getty Images
A perimeter defender like C.J. Leslie would fill a need for the Rockets.

The Houston Rockets most certainly have needs after an early exit from the first round of the NBA playoffs, but using the draft will likely leave them in a similar position as they are in right now.

General manager Daryl Morey will only have one pick at his disposal, a pick that will have little value. With the No. 4 pick of the second round, Morey will have a difficult time addressing the team's needs. He'll likely just choose the best player available.

Draftexpress.com predicts that Houston will take point guard Lorenzo Brown from North Carolina State with said pick. I'm not so sure that's a choice that makes much sense, however.

The last thing Houston needs is another point guard with Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley and Aaron Brooks already on the roster. Brown may end up being the best player available, but even that strategy should be trumped by the excess of point guards already in place.

Even though it'll be difficult to address needs through the draft, that does not diminish the fact that this team does have legitimate needs. The defense is a cause for concern, as is the fact that there's no clear cut power forward on the roster.

Thomas Robinson, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas were all first-year players last season, so it's natural that they each experienced growing pains. The team is likely hoping that either Robinson or Jones can establish himself as the starter during the offseason. Both exhibit exemplary athletic ability and would fit well with the run-and-gun mentality.

With this being the case, drafting defense should be exactly where Morey looks.

C.J. Leslie is a player that Morey could look at, and Draft Express has him going just one pick earlier in the second round to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Leslie is a forward by definition, with the height and offensive potential to play the four but the shooting ability and perimeter defense to play the three.

This is where Leslie would be useful for Houston. Leslie's scouting report sites his length and athleticism as defensive strengths along the perimeter. He has quick feet and profiles as a solid help defender. Chandler Parsons is obviously the unquestioned starter at small forward, but minutes off the bench could be available for Leslie.

Houston could also further improve its defense in the low post by drafting center Mike Muscala to play behind Omer Asik. Motiejunas displayed potential last season, but he is not physical enough to be a top defender.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Muscala contesting a shot.

Muscala, a senior from Bucknell, is a solid post defender who blocked 2.3 shots per game during his senior season. He's great at blocking shots because of his tenacity and propensity to stay in front of his man. His scouting reports suggests that he has plenty of room for growth (physically), so he's definitely a player that Morey should take a look at.

The Rockets had a ton of first-year players last season, and adding more inexperience to the roster is not exactly optimal. Thankfully, Morey has just one pick in the upcoming draft.

If Morey addresses defense with his lone pick, then the Rockets will be in good shape moving forward. Throw in the experience gain last season's rookies will undoubtedly have, and Houston has plenty to look forward to next season.

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