Houston Rockets: Is Donatas Motiejunas Their Man or Will They Draft for Need?
The Houston Rockets are known as a team that doesn't draft based on need, but on a team that is close to playoff contention, should they alter their strategy?
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is a proponent of always taking the best player available regardless of what position the draftee plays or what the Rockets need.
Last season, they took Patrick Patterson because they felt that he was the most NBA-ready post player on their board.
A similar strategy led the Rockets to the selection of solid players like Aaron Brooks. It has also brought them guys like Brad Newley and Maarty Leunen, who have never set foot on an NBA court.
From where they are drafting (No. 14), the pickings will likely be slim for the Rockets. That might lead them to take another high-ceiling player that might not fit what they need for next season once again.
There is a lot of talk that the player they are targeting is European big man Donatas Motiejunas. Motiejunas is a typical Euro center in a lot of ways. He is tall and thin and has an offensive game not generally found in people seven feet tall.
Motiejunas would likely stay over in Europe for a few years for more seasoning. After that point, the Rockets would be hoping that he will be able to replicate the offensive production they were getting out of Yao Ming during his prime.
Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets beat writer for the Houston Chronicle, describes how tough it is to predict what the Rockets will do with their pick:
When it comes to the Rockets, predictions are particularly dicey because they absolutely refuse to consider need. That is central to their draft philosophy.
The Rockets say that throughout the process, long before they make their picks, reminding each other and anyone else that they refuse to consider the current roster when drafting players to add to it.
Selecting Motiejunas would fit right in with that philosophy. The biggest need for the Rockets is someone that can contribute immediately and help the Rockets get back into the playoffs.
Motiejunas won't do that and won't factor into any plans the team has for its current roster for at least another three or four seasons.
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