Note: None of the following may ultimately matter should THE RAPTURE take form. At least we'll still have something to argue over in the midst of the total destruction of Australia before calling it quits ourselves. Also, I'd like to thank Harold Camping for giving me something to laugh about hysterically. What an idiot.
Some random Rockets draft thoughts that have crossed my mind over the past few days:
1. Don't forget Rule No.1: When evaluating these players and figuring who we think the Rockets should take, it's imperative that we include exactly how a certain player might fit on the Rockets versus how he might fit on a different team. Not to say that I prefer drafting for need over drafting the "best" player available, but I like to figure out what specific tools one player might bring over another in relation to what the Rockets need. In drafting "need," a team might draft to fill a position. In my scenario, a team chooses a specific player within a chosen position based on a certain criteria. Get it? No? Well, screw that, then.
2. I don't like Enes Kanter for Houston. He reminds me of our pal Luis Scola -- and don't jump on that comparison too quickly -- in that he plays below the rim, isn't one to protect the rim on defense and is skillful enough on offense to overcome a lack of athleticism. He'll be a good player somewhere, but he is a power forward, through and through. That's not what the Rockets need.
3. Let's ask ourselves: Do the Rockets trade up to take a raw player like Bismack Biyombo when they've already got a raw player in Hasheem Thabeet, who happens to be a true center? Continue to the next point for an addendum.
4. There aren't any true centers available in this draft. Sure, there are a bunch of hybrids -- ideal power forwards who can still guard the center position. But I'm not sure the Rockets should sacrifice drafting for depth on the wings to take a chance on a frontcourt tweener, especially given Thabeet's presence on the roster. Not to say that I wholeheartedly believe in Thabeet, but is there much reason to place any more belief in these prospects? Perhaps next season can be the year for Houston to go after an available big body.
5. It comes down to this question (re: the points above): Assuming that the Rockets need
cash center help now, do any of these prospects appear to be any more ready than Thabeet to step in and start right away? Patience could prove to be virtuous in this regard.
6. The Four-Headed SF Monster: Between Jordan Hamilton, Kawhi Leonard, Tobias Harris and Chris Singleton, it may come down to A) Who is available without having to move up, B) If the Rockets choose to go with a small forward, do they shoot for Hamilton's polished offense, Singleton's or Leonard's potentially dominant defense, or Harris' "jack of all trades but master of none" well-roundedness? I like all four of these players based on talent alone. For the Rockets, I prefer Singleton, Leonard or Harris over Hamilton, if only because Hamilton appears to have a "go-to guy" mindset that could serve other teams well but not Houston.
Of the four, I think Harris would be the safest pick. Some have labeled him as a power forward, but in looking at the available tape, he looks as if he could fit the small forward role just fine. I like his size and his ability to put the ball on the floor (at least enough to get by), but above all else, I like that he doesn't have a macro-size weak spot. Sure, his jumper could improve. Sure, he could be more assertive around the rim, and perhaps his defense could improve slightly as well. But -- much in the way that I loved last year's Patrick Patterson pick -- I'm a fan of taking the least Swiss-cheese-looking player, the one with the least holes in his game. To me, this reflects maturity and attention to detail. The Rockets won't find a star in this draft, making the two aforementioned traits all the more attractive.
I've made no secret of my support of Singleton. He's got an NBA body and an NBA feel to him, whatever that means. He's a defense-first guy who is improving on offense, and while that's not to say that he is incredibly raw, to be honest I don't really care. The Rockets will know what they are getting if they draft Singleton: they won't ask him to be a 15-point scorer. Instead, I could see them focusing on his three-point shot and his slashing ability, especially in transition. His impact would be felt most on the defensive end, but he is athletic enough on offense to make plays without being as overtly annoying and hopelessly assertive as Trevor Ariza.
This alone is why I might prefer Singleton over Leonard. Leonard has a pretty horrible outside shot, whereas Singleton looks as if he could develop from range over time. The Rockets might have to trade up to take Leonard as well, and that's not something I'd like to do this year. I'm ready to select at fourteen and twenty-three. Should Houston decide to make a move, I'd rather they give up their second rounder and perhaps slide the twenty-third pick down into the teens.
7. Don't know what to make of Tristan Thompson. If he grows, maybe he could be a center. If he doesn't, will we simply be watching "Jordan Hill, Part 2: Where Defense Ability Exists, Despite No Definite Position?" Who knows. I need to find out more about him.
8. Throw out the Morris twins. Don't see them doing much to help the team, especially with Patterson on boards. This could change if Scola ever gets moved, but I think we've wrongly made that assumption about a hundred times.
9. Jonas Valanciunas? Maybe we need to give him some more consideration. If the Rockets indeed choose to move up, would they move up for young Jonas?
10. What about the twenty-third pick? It's tough to gauge who might be available, but I've always liked Darius Morris out of Michigan. The Rockets don't necessarily need a point guard, but there's no harm in adding depth to a position that Houston hasn't solidified, well, ever. I'll come back to this at some point.
Thoughts of your own? Maybe I'll get bored enough to do a mock draft at some point.