With the biggest front runners in NBA history finally vanquished (thanks, Lebron) and with all that "greatest team of all-time" talk now not only in the rear view but completely flushed down the toilet where it belongs (thanks again, Lebron), it's time to turn our attention to Thursday's NBA draft.
The Rockets hold the 37th and the 43rd picks, both in the second round, and over the years, success in that round has historically been hard to come by. Since 1999, only 6 percent of all total second round picks have gone on to average over 25 minutes per game in the NBA. Though the Rockets have been luckier than most with those picks, especially under GM Daryl Morey.
Since Morey's came aboard, the Rockets have either drafted or acquired via trade the following players in the second round: Chandler Parsons, Carl Landry, Chase Bundinger, Joey Dorsey, Isaiah Canaan, Nick Johnson, Montrezl Harrell, Jermaine Taylor, Sergio Lull, Alessandro Gentile, Brad Newley and Maarty Leunen. It's hardly a murderer's row, but there's some players in there.
In fact, Morey believes he's had better luck in the second over the years than the first round, telling the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen:
"We've actually done well in both rounds, just relatively, we've done better in the second round. People point to past picks, but relative to where they were selected -- and we have a good track record in the first round as well -- but the second round, obviously, we've had good success."
And he's right, the Rockets have snagged a fair amount of talent in the first round as well, but the vast majority of them found their best success with other franchises. Don't forget, Nicolas Batum, Marcus Morris and Nikola Mirotic were all drafted by Houston only to be traded away. 2012 first round pick Jeremy Lamb was also traded away, but he's struggled to find extensive playing time in both subsequent stops of Oklahoma City and Charlotte.
Then there are guys like Aaron Brooks and Patrick Patterson, who played well for the Rockets, but didn't stick with the team, there was one total flame out in Royce White and one probable flame out in Terrence Jones. The jury is still out on Sam Dekker, and while Clint Capela looks like he'll be a solid piece for years to come, he's still more potential than actual on-court production at this stage in his career.
Morey told Feigen in regards to his better relative second-round success:
"That's a product of the draft being about preparation meeting serendipity. Often we come out very well."
Of course, there's always the possibility of a trade, but with this not a particularly dynamic draft class, at least on paper, that may not be the most prudent of moves. Though Morey does acknowledge it is a buyer's market if the Rockets become interested in moving up.
"I think it will be the easiest to trade for a first-round pick ever. There are four teams -- Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix and Denver -- that have almost half the first round, and all four don't even want to have their picks...
"It's not really a priority for us. It is always better to be higher than lower, so we will look at it... but a lot of teams want to move off of picks. Not a lot of teams want to move into them."
Wherever things end up, however, Morey is confident the Rockets will do well.
"Obviously, you'd rather have a first and a second than two seconds, but we can do fine with two seconds."
We won't have to wait long to find out if Morey can keep it up.