5 Draft Targets That Make Perfect Sense for Houston Rockets

Michael PinaFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2013

5 Draft Targets That Make Perfect Sense for Houston Rockets

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    The Rockets have choices, although fewer than recently, in the 2013 NBA Draft.

    In 2012, the Houston Rockets were blessed with three first-round picks, which they turned into Royce White, Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lamb.

    Lamb was eventually included in a Houston package that brought James Harden to the Rockets, proving every asset in the NBA holds value. 

    This time around, the Rockets are in a different place, with no first-round picks and no real need or desire to pay another very young rookie guaranteed money.

    They do, however, have a second-round pick with the 34th overall selection. Houston has basically been the model organization in using these oft-overlooked second-round picks wisely, and, like the Lamb selection, the Rockets understand that everything should be treated as a valuable asset.

    Here then are five players—ranked from having the lowest to highest immediate impact—who could still be available when Houston makes its only pick in Thursday night's NBA draft. 

     

    Information from DraftExpress.com was used in this article.

5. Marko Todorovic

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    The flexibility that comes with stashing an asset overseas is desired by all teams looking to keep as much money off their books as possible. The Rockets are certainly one of those teams that are eager to sign at least one free agent to a maximum contract this summer. 

    Spanish center Marko Todorovic would be perfect for this scenario. At 21 years old, he's an obvious work in progress, averaging just 7.3 points last season, but at 6'11" and with an athletic frame, he's the type of player any team would be more than happy to let develop as someone else writes the checks.

    At this stage of his career, Todorovic is raw, but aggressive. He is a player who has high energy and understands how to attack the glass, box out and finish when given the opportunity at the rim.

    There's no guarantee a player like Todorovic will ever pan out, but the best example of someone who has done so would be Marc Gasol, another young Spanish center drafted in the second round.

    It never hurts to take a flier on height, and the Rockets would be killing two birds with one stone if they were able to not only make Todorovic a part of their franchise, but also stash him overseas. 

4. Erick Green

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    The Atlantic Coast Conference's Player of the Year, Erick Green knows how to put the ball in the basket. He averaged an incredible 25 points on 47.5 percent shooting last season

    Any team in the league, including the Rockets, is always in need of a third guard capable of scoring at will off the dribble and at a moment's notice from the bench.

    Green can do that, and even though he's only 6'3", his ability to put pressure on defenses is a skill that would hopefully translate to the NBA level.

    The Rockets have guards who can score, but it doesn't hurt to make a strength even stronger, especially if it results in an abundance of talent that allows Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to shop some pieces around.

3. Nate Wolters

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    Point guards are always good to have around, especially ones who are nearly 6'5" and made 38 percent of their three-pointers (while averaging over five attempts per game) in their senior season of college.

    The Rockets have somewhat of a long-term question mark at that position.

    With Jeremy Lin looking to bounce back from a year mired in inconsistent play and Patrick Beverley fighting for as many minutes as he can get on a non-guaranteed contract, the floor is wide open for someone to insert himself in the depth chart.

    If it means general manager Daryl Morey is afforded the flexibility to upgrade the roster by flipping Lin and replace him with a player like Nate Wolters, all the better. Wolters will give 80 percent of Lin's production for less than one-eighth the price tag

2. Tony Snell

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    Finding a player who already possesses the physical characteristics that align with long-term NBA success isn't a bad strategy in the second round of the NBA draft.

    New Mexico's Tony Snell is a perfect example.

    Standing 6'7" with a seven-foot wingspan, Snell is the prototypical wing that teams around the league are looking for to fill their rosters.

    Snell's long arms give him a leg up on the defensive end, which is a huge advantage in a league that now forces on-ball defenders to constantly fight through screens in order to stay with their man.

    On the other end, he sank 39 percent of his three-point shots last season, which is solid since consistent three-point shooting is a prerequisite to heavy playing time for most small forwards now.

    With the Rockets having had some noticeable difficulty keeping speedy guards out of the paint last season, Snell could develop into Houston's shutdown corner.

1. Mike Muscala

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    Among all NCAA eligible players last season, Mike Muscala was second in Player Efficiency Rating.

    A 6'11" center who made over 50 percent of his shots last season, Muscala is flying under the radar quite a bit due to his competition level in college where he played for Bucknell, a member of the Patriot League.

    Still, he's a polished offensive player with four years of college experience—the same as Chandler Parsons.

    Muscala is able to score with both hands from the post and is an incredibly hostile rebounder, pulling down 11.3 boards per game last season.

    The Rockets already have Omer Asik and Greg Smith in their frontcourt, but with a second-round pick, it makes the most sense to select the most talented player available, and judging from what he did in college last year, it's tough to say anyone is better than Muscala.