The Houston Rockets have been mocked every which way you can mock an NBA team. Between their two first-round picks, they have been pegged to go big, small, short-term, long-haul and have even been rumored to want to trade out of the draft altogether. Tell me this isn't exciting, or at the very least, incredibly frustrating.
As the draft approaches in the next few hours, I thought it best to take a final look at where the mockery will ultimately stand. And yes, the picture above is from my seat in the house. I'm closer to the podium than I was last year, so that's nice. ESPN The Magazine is also seated in front of me. I'm almost tempted to treat them like the annoying kid on the roller coaster who is seated directly behind you and whose hand occasionally brushes with your hair. For the sake of my "career," however, I'll likely keep to myself.
By the way, per the Draft Express mock, Houston offered Courtney Lee and the 23rd pick to acquire the tenth pick. That would give them two first rounders, perhaps enough to trade into the top five. However, Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Sacramento has struck a deal with the Bucks and Charlotte, likely eliminating Houston from acquiring that tenth pick. as Chad Ford reports, the draft order has been set until kickoff tonight. Things will get dicy once Cleveland is placed on the clock.
UPDATE: Per ESPN.com's Chad Ford:
Deal: Bucks get Beno, Stephen Jackson 9 & 19. Bobcats get pick 7 & Maggette. Kings get 10 & John Salmons.
My mistake on 9th pick. Bucks have 19th pick, but Charlotte retains No. 9 pick.
I'll update my mock for the final time. See below. Unless Detroit is convinced that Tristan Thompson is their man, I think this opens up serious consideration for Houston to be able to move up.
Mocks, for your pleasure.
Pick No. 14
The Rockets are talking to everyone -- and I mean everyone -- about moving up in the draft. Everyone from the Wolves at 2 to the Warriors at 11 have heard the pitch. I think someone ultimately will bite, and I think it could be Detroit.
But if not, the Rockets are likely to reach a little bit for some size in the paint. They are desperate for it, and Vucevic is the biggest man in the draft. Chris Singleton and Markieff Morris are also options.
This would be a fairly disappointing fall for Leonard, who had strong supporters in front offices drafting much higher than this (Toronto at No. 5, Washington at 6 and Sacramento at 7). Ultimately, positional needs and team preferences could drop him down to the end of the lottery, where the Rockets would be ecstatic to land him.
I have a feeling the Rockets like Morris a lot, and could have been target a move-up to his range in recent rumors.
ProBasketballDraft.com -- Jordan Hamilton
This pick probably is traded as Houston wants to either trade up or trade out for another 2012 1st rounder. Hamilton is a smooth shooting SF that will give the Rockets or any team the ability to help stretch the court. Hamilton can help the Rockets right now.
NBADraft.net -- Chris Singleton
Pick No. 23
ESPN.com -- Donatas Motiejunas
At this point in the draft, you quit worrying about draft needs and you draft according to talent. Motiejunas is a major talent. He's got flaws, but at No. 23 you live with them. If the Rockets don't trade the pick away, Jimmy Butler is a possibility here, as is Darius Morris.
Draft Express -- Iman Shumpert
Shumpert's draft range appears huge at the moment, starting with Phoenix at No. 13 and moving all the way to the end of the first round, where his hometown team of Chicago likes his defensive potential and athleticism. The Rockets don't have a glaring need for a player at his position but could be drawn to his upside, seeing as how no other prospect really jumps out at this stage of the draft.
SB Nation -- Charles Jenkins
The black Jimmer Fredette who could drink coffee in college.
ProBasketballDraft.com -- Iman Shumpert
According to sources Houston wants to add a PG. Shumpert is a plus defender with great size for a PG and even though he cannot shoot his versatility to lock down 3 positions gives him an edge with Darryl Morey and co. The Knicks want to deal up to get Klay Thompson and Jimmer Fredette but don't have the resources beyond cash to make it happen.
NBADraft.net -- Marshon Brooks
* * *
As for my final mock draft? Have a look.
2. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Derrick Williams
4. Cleveland Cavaliers -- Jonas Valanciunas
5. Toronto Raptors -- Brandon Knight
6. Washington Wizards -- Jan Vesely
7. Charlotte Bobcats -- Bismack Biyombo
8. Detroit Pistons -- Tristan Thompson
9. Charlotte Bobcats -- Marcus Morris
10. Sacramento Kings -- Jimmer Fredette
11. Golden State Warriors -- Klay Thompson
12. Utah Jazz -- Kemba Walker
13. Phoenix Suns -- Markieff Morris
14. Houston Rockets -- Kawhi Leonard
16. Philadelphia 76ers -- Nikola Vucevic
17. New York Knics -- Chris Singleton
18. Washington Wizards -- Jordan Hamilton
19. Milwaukee Bucks -- Marshon Brooks
20. Minnesota Timberwolves -- Tobias Harris
22. Denver Nuggets -- Iman Shumpert
23. Houston Rockets -- Donatas Motiejunas
26. Dallas Mavericks -- Nikola Mirotic
29. San Antonio Spurs -- Darius Morris
30. Chicago Bulls -- Charles Jenkins