With the NBA Draft Combine in the rear-view mirror, keyboard general managers are beginning to clash over who should or shouldn't be drafted in this year's upcoming selection show.
While many of the league's bottom feeders have their sights set on prospects with bigger names, fringe contenders like the Houston Rockets will be looking to bolster their roster for depth. The Rockets won't be drafting any game-changers, but it doesn't hurt to compare and analyze what several mock drafts are predicting as far as their selections this go-around.
Because all of Houston's acquired-via-trade picks are (unfortunately for their sake) protected as of this year, the original holders of the respective picks will hang on to their original slots, assuming the Toronto pick meets the specific criteria following the lottery. Houston will however hang on to one pick, and said pick will be available in the second round.
A solid source of pre-draft information, NBADraft.net does a great job of illustrating some miscellaneous information while providing an organized and comprehensive breakdown of both rounds of the draft. Clicking on the respective prospects will also take viewers directly to an individualized scouting report.
They have the Rockets going for Allen Crabbe, the sharpshooter out of Cal. Crabbe isn't going to wow you with his moves off the dribble, Crabbe is not by any means an explosive athlete, but this man can flatout shoot the ball. NBADraft.net likely sees Houston sticking to their rationale of spreading the floor, getting lengthy defenders and basically adding a player who won't do anything but contribute. Crabbe isn't a black hole so to speak for a prospective offense; he is simply a catch-and-shoot type of guy who won't hog or dominate a possession.
Definitely a conservative option for this pick, but NBADraft.net has the right idea as far as adding a guy who will serve as a complement rather than expecting some game-changing acquisition
Hoopsworld is a little less on the nitty-gritty, but they are far more focused on delivering an easy to read, in-your-face type of display as compared to NBADraft.net's standardized layout. They also provide some nifty clickable links directly to each prospect's profile on DraftExpress.com.
Rather than Crabbe, Hoopsworld predicts the Rockets will opt for Giannis Adetokunbo, a very, very raw prospect from Greece. The Nigerian-born Adetokunbo is going to differ in many ways from Crabbe. He is a foreign player who will have to familiarize himself with the NBA lifestyle, and rather than a college kid who has been groomed since his AAU days, he will be a little out of the loop due to some culture barriers.
Other than the extraneous factors, Adetokunbo also has a few basketball limitations as well. Physically, he is extremely gifted—big 6'9" frame, huge hands, incredible athletic potential—but fundamentally he isn't the soundest of players. He has a lot to work on as far as shooting the basketball ball consistently goes, as well as the cerebral aspects of the game. But the boy (he's not even 19 yet) could be a solid multi-position defender thanks to his frame.
Differing a bit from the other two sources, DraftExpress thinks the Rockets will go point rather than spot-up wing or defending wing. Similar to the two previous options, Lorenzo Brown isn't going to move mountains for Houston; he's going to be a utility player with a defined role. Brown is big for a guard—the 6'5" product out of NC State will have a height advantage against most points—but offensively he's still a bit rough around the edges.
Brown needs to improve his dexterity. He's not a great shooter by any means from the perimeter and he's by no means a supreme athlete. He's an incredibly crafty player with the ball in his hands, but he he needs to hit the weight room and at some point he needs to define his role at the next level.
Being a tweener guard in the NBA is great if you have an elite skill set, but for a guy like Brown, someone who is a tweener due to not really excelling at one or the other needs to carve out a niche so he can fit somewhere in an NBA lineup.
Which of the following prospects is best for Houston?
Adding another guard to Houston's backcourt wouldn't hurt, and DraftExpress definitely sees Houston going for yet another conservative acquisition at this stage in the selection process.
Ultimately, whoever gets selected to play for Houston this season will most likely be raw and underdeveloped, very fitting for a team that itself still has lot of growing up to do. Houston's tremendous trio of James Harden, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons are all still in the early stages of truly defining who they are as players, and just like their eventual rookie newcomer, this season is yet another opportunity to discover what they're truly capable of in this league.