The team holds the 25th and 42nd picks in this year's draft. Houston has no glaring needs, but it could still go in a number of directions. With starter Chandler Parsons a restricted free agent and backup Francisco Garcia expected to opt out (per CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes), small forward is an option.
With so much depth on a team determined to win now, it will be hard for a rookie to find playing time in the immediate future. The Rockets could go international and stash a prospect who can contribute down the road.
More likely, Houston will take the best player available and use the picks as trade bait for whatever it has planned in free agency later this summer.
Regardless, here are a few names that the Rockets should consider when they are on the clock.
Glenn Robinson III, Small Forward, Michigan
If he opted to declare last year, Glenn Robinson III might have been a lottery pick. After choosing to stay one more season at Michigan, the rangy small forward should go somewhere in the mid-to-late first round.
Robinson, whose father was a two-time NBA All-Star, increased his scoring from 11.0 points per game last season to 13.1 points this past year. However, the rest of his stat line took a few hits. His field-goal percentage took a dip (from nearly 57 percent to just under 49 percent).
There was also a decline in his work on the boards (5.3 rebounds per game to 4.4).
Robinson's strengths are that he's extremely athletic and plays with a ton of energy. He also has the size (6'7") and long arms (6'10" wingspan, 8'4" standing reach) to be a good perimeter defender, which is something Houston needs.
Much like his father, Robinson is a good mid-range shooter and great finisher when he attacks the basket. If he asserts himself a little more, the 20-year-old could really be a factor on the glass as well.
As with any prospect, Robinson has his flaws. His outside shooting needs some work. He shot 32 percent from behind the arc before that number dropped to just under 31 percent last season. In his profile of Robinson, Jacob Stallard of NBADraft.net says Robinson is "too passive on offense" and "seemed content to play a secondary role."
There's also the issue of Robinson's ball-handling, which, as DraftExpress.com's Matt Kamalsky explains in his scouting report, could limit his ability to create offense for himself:
"He [Robinson] has a solid first step, but lacks the ball-handling ability to shake his defender consistently one-on-one and doesn't always look comfortable handling the ball under duress."
Robinson had a pretty solid showing at the combine in May, as he finished with the third-best running vertical (41.5 inches) of the 53 participants and tied for the best standing vertical at 36.5 inches.
In terms of where Robinson ranks among his rookie peers, opinions vary a little. DraftExpress.com has Robinson at No. 33 in its list of the top 100 prospects. NBADraft.net has him No. 18 overall on its 2014 big board. CBSSports.com ranks him 37th in its top 100.
Nobody Houston takes at No. 25 (and especially No. 42) will be perfect. With so much work on his jump shot, though, Robinson could develop into a solid two-way player. I think the Rockets could live with that late in the first.
Jordan Adams, Shooting Guard, UCLA
The Rockets don't have much of a need at shooting guard with James Harden and the emerging Troy Daniels holding down the fort. However, UCLA's Jordan Adams is an intriguing prospect who could potentially be available at the bottom of the first round.
Adams averaged 17.4 points per game for the Bruins as a sophomore last season. He shot 48.5 percent from the field (up from 44.7 percent as a freshman), including just under 36 percent from three. He showed a knack for jumping lanes and coming away with steals, contributing 2.6 thefts a night.
Adams' offensive skills, particularly his shooting, will be his calling card as a pro. Rick Pietro of NBADraft.net likens the UCLA guard to New Orleans Pelicans shooter Anthony Morrow. Both Morrow and Adams have similar height at 6'5", but the latter comes equipped with a wingspan of 6'10".
Unlike Glenn Robinson III, though, Adams isn't a great athlete. His lateral foot speed and quickness leave much to be desired. He's not going to jump out of the gym, either. DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony also mentions that Adams' thick frame leaves him prone to offseason weight gain and potential injuries.
"Getting on a real strength and conditioning program and improving his body will go a long ways in maximizing his physical tools. He looked extremely out of shape to start his sophomore season, and even if he slimmed down as the year moved on, NBA teams could have some concerns due to his thick body type which looks prone to gaining weight in the off-season and could make him susceptible to injuries."
Adams is still very young at just 19 years old (he will be 20 in July), so there's plenty of room for him to grow. If he can get his jumper to fall consistently, all of the concerns about his lack of athleticism become moot.
Given how infatuated Houston is with the three-ball (no team attempted more threes this season) and its need for someone who can force turnovers, Adams would be a nice fit for the Rockets. He's been ranked as high as No. 26 (DraftExpress) and as low as No. 45 (CBSSports).
Unless someone in the early 20s falls in love with Adams' offensive potential, he should be available when Houston is on the clock.
K.J. McDaniels, Small Forward, Clemson
Of the prospects who could possibly be available for the Houston Rockets, Clemson's K.J. McDaniels is my favorite. In his breakout junior year this past season, he averaged 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.1 steals per contest.
He's a little undersized at 6'6", but he makes up for it with a 6'11" wingspan. McDaniels' physical skills don't stop there, as DraftExpress.com's Mike Schmitz pointed out in his NBA Prospect of the Week report from back in February.
"McDaniels has outstanding physical attributes for a NBA prospect, standing 6-6, with an excellent frame, long arms, and arguably the best athleticism of any wing player in the draft not named Andrew Wiggins. He's as explosive a leaper as you'll find, being responsible for some of the most impressive highlight reel plays of the college season thus far."
While McDaniels scored a ton in his last season of college ball, his offensive game still needs improvement. He shot 30 percent from behind the arc as a junior. His best mark from three in his college career was 33 percent during his sophomore season.
There are also some concerns about his ball-handling. Schmitz added in his report that McDaniels' skills in that area are "just average, as he struggles to change speeds or directions with the ball, and doesn't he create much offense for teammates either, as his court vision and feel for the game are not off the charts."
NBADraft.net would appear to agree in its profile of the rookie. Rick Fois wrote that the Clemson star's ball-handling "needs some work, his one on one often finish with a turnover as McDaniels often struggles to read the help," while Jorrye Nixon piles on that McDaniels has "mediocre at best ability to create his own shot off the dribble."
Despite the flaws, Houston can't really turn its nose up at a prospect who can guard multiple positions and seems to improve each year. McDaniels will no doubt be a work in progress, but his defensive chops and work on the boards make him worthwhile.
The Rockets have plenty of scorers. What they don't have are players on the wing who can stop an opponent's offense. McDaniels fits that bill. It's hard to ignore someone who can drop 17 a night in the ACC without a reliable jumper or adequate handles.
In the right situation, he could be the steal of the draft.
As you can tell by this article, Houston's best options in Round 1 will likely be perimeter players. When the team goes on the clock in the second round, however, there some interesting big men to keep an eye on.
Switzerland's Clint Capela is a 6'11" center who has drawn comparisons to the Toronto Raptors' Amir Johnson. Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, whom NBADraft.net has mocked to Houston in Round 2, is a 260-pound forward who reminds some of the Dallas Mavericks' DeJuan Blair. Also, watch out for North Carolina's James McAdoo and LSU's Johnny O'Bryant as well.
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