The Houston Rockets have been extremely hot of late, beating the Spurs, Atlanta and pulling closer to a playoff seed. The only problem is Memphis and New Orleans aren't letting up easily, and it's going to be a real challenge to get that playoff seed as of now.
But let's look ahead to next year. Who can they draft to put themselves in a better position to make the playoffs next year?
The Rockets need two things—a new small forward and a new center. The small forward is the most addressable, and here are 10 small forwards they should target in this year's draft.
This is more of a pipe dream for Rockets fans, as is the next guy in the slide. But as of right now, they would have about a 0.5-percent chance to win the lottery and get a top pick. Again, highly unlikely but possible. Also, Houston might decide to trade up.
But Harrison would be a perfect fit as an outside shooter and defender on the wing. People compare him to a better version of Luol Deng. If Houston were to get him and a center, the Rockets would probably be playoff/title contender depending on how he performs.
Like I mentioned in the previous slide, this is more of a pipe dream, but still possible. He has really improved his outside shot from last year, and as it continues to improve, he will become a better pro. He draws comparisons to David West and Thaddeus Young.
While I think Barnes is a better option, I would be thrilled if Houston were to acquire either of the two.
This pick becomes a bit more realistic compared to the other two, especially considering he is expected to go late in the lottery, somewhere from the No. 10-to-No. 14 pick. So Houston could very easily trade up to get him if they wanted.
He is a very good athlete and a lot like a Lamar Odom kind of player in the sense that he can handle and pass the ball extremely well for his position.
But then again, he is a bit of a head case. Terrence Williams part deux, huh?
The only reason I put Leonard on here is because he is a very good defender and rebounder. The problem points with him, though, are that he is a below-average outside shooter, and he's what scouts call a "tweener" because he isn't a true three or four, but he can play either position.
So again, not a great option, but not a bad option.
Hamilton is a guy who I would really like to have on the Rockets; he has unlimited range and he was really an underrated defender this year. He would probably be available with the Rockets pick, but the question will be whether he enters the draft or not.
The reason I say that is because he has said he will not be entering the draft, but anything can change between now and then—especially with a college kid.
Tyler is a really good defender which, like I said on the Leonard slide, is something Houston really needs, a defensive anchor.
The problem with getting Honeycutt is Houston doesn't own any late first-to-early second round picks in the draft. The good thing, though, is those aren't very hard to acquire, especially in what is called a pretty weak draft by so-called experts.
The reason I like Singler is because he is from a winning organization—Duke. He needs to bring that winning pedigree to Houston.
He brings a nice outside shot to go along with his passing skills and his very high basketball IQ.
Like I said on the last slide, he will go late first-to-early second round which shouldn't be very hard to trade for.
Quincy will more than likely go undrafted, thus making his acquisition very easy.
He's got a real good motor, and he plays hard every play. He's also a very athletic player and an above-average defender.
He is still very raw defensively, but one thing Houston doesn't have trouble with is scoring.
Hummel's stock really dropped after he tore his ACL and he was out for the whole season. Don't flip out on me if he has already said he is staying in school, because I haven't heard it yet.
But Hummel is a guy with an NBA-range three-point jumper. He could become one of the elite three-point shooters in the NBA eventually. A team can never have enough guys to spread the floor, and more than likely, he could be acquired as an undrafted free agent.
Khris is a pretty good defender who can get into the passing lanes and get steals. He is probably going to go late-first round or early second. He is a pretty streaky shooter, but that will get a lot better if he works hard to improve his shot.
I don't see the Rockets going after him, but he is an option if all else fails.
Thanks for reading guys. Comment down below on who you think I missed or which of the guys I listed you think the Rockets should go after.
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