NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 18: Arnett Moultrie #23 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs rebounds the ball against the Arizona Wildcats at the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches Vs Cancer at Madison Square Garden on November 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
We're quickly entering Mock
You Like A Hurricane Season. Draft experts have been at it for some time now, but with a handful of teams and fans already turning to the offseason for answers, it's time to bring out the educated guesses. Here's a look at your mock draft update from a few of the most prominent web sites out there. I've attached any available pick analysis that each website offered. I've also added some analysis of my own, because ANALYSIS.
14: Perry Jones, PF Baylor
Not only will Jones The Third be an asset defensively for Houston, but he'll also help NASA reach potential sentients in outer galaxies.
Not the most helpful analysis here, but the pick would obviously be one of Houston's best-case scenarios. I'm not a huge Jones III fan myself, but just imagine, if he could someday put it all together and forge some sort of "me-first" complex... look out.
14: Terrence Jones, F Kentucky
16: Arnett Moultrie, PF Mississippi State
Moultrie has been steadily rising on draft boards the past few weeks as GMs and scouts go back and look at tape. His size, elite athletic ability and rebounding prowess make him worth the risk. In fact, I wonder if he'll really go this low. The Pistons could grab him at No. 9.
I think Moultrie is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft and he's exactly the type of high-upside player I think Houston should target... except, he's just about the same type of player as Donatas Motiejunas, with a few differences of course. They're both tall power forwards with good shooting ability, and while Motie is more of a gunner and Moultrie is a better rebounder, scouts have questioned each's ability to guard inside. I won't mind it if Morey goes for the best talent available — clearly, at 16, I think Moultrie qualifies — but if that's the case, Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson need to hit the trading block.
As for Terrence Jones at 14, that's great value and it fills a need. Jones isn't the wing scorer that Houston needs, but he's got a chance to be a playmaker on both ends, and the Rockets need all of the two-way players they can get.
14: Kendall Marshall, PG North Carolina
16: Austin Rivers, SG Duke
I like this coup, too. Marshall won't be the next Rajon Rondo, but despite his shooting deficiencies, he has a chance to become a really talented floor general. There isn't a better passer in the college game, and whenever he was off the floor, UNC — an otherwise talented team — suffered mightily.
Taking Rivers at 16 would be my preferred course of action, since I don't think the guard-heavy Sixers would take a chance on him at 15.
14: Jared Sullinger, PF Ohio State
16: Terrence Jones, F Kentucky
I've passed along my skepticism about Sullinger's ability to take any sort of "next step" at the pro level, but I could be wrong. Perhaps the most helpful addition to his development will be his outside shot, which instantly brings about some Kevin Love comparisons. He won't be Love — I repeat, he will not be Love — but I think he could become a solid starter if he can develop a craftier below-the-rim game. Learning a few tricks from Luis Scola wouldn't hurt, actually.
Ultimately, Sullinger at 14 and Jones at 16 would be a fantastic coup and would make sense on a Morey level, as he's usually prone to drafting players with experience. At the same time, going big with two picks would put more pressure on Morey to figure out the point guard position (assuming Gogi isn't re-signed). It also sets the stage for Kevin Martin to perform in a contract year.
14: Meyers Leonard, C Illinois
16: Austin Rivers, SG Duke
I'm not a huge fan of any centers in this draft, especially Leonard. He never made any sort of impression on an Illinois team that desperately needed him to step up his game. At the same time, there's a chance he could develop further if he sits behind Marcus Camby. Leonard and Rivers would represent a change in draft philosophy for Houston, and that's a change I think the Rockets need to implement sooner than later. I wouldn't love the Leonard pick, but I'd understand it if the Rockets are committed to rebuilding with youth.