clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Houston’s Second Round Picks Mean More Than Ever

New, comment

Carl Landry, Chase Budinger, Chandler Parsons, Isaiah Canaan, Montrezl Harrell. The next snag is out there.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Dallas Mavericks
Daryl Morey selected Chandler Parsons with a second round pick in 2011.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Chandler Parsons doesn’t appear worthy of the max-contract he’s currently saddling the Memphis Grizzlies with. It’s not his fault. They offered him the contract.

In the rear-view mirror of Daryl Morey’s Prius-V, I’m guessing he’s sensible but sees the extra space as a value, Parsons was an amazing Rocket. Plucked with the 39th pick of the second round Parsons immediately signed a four-year contract at less than a million bucks a year.

The one-time jean model started 207 games for Houston averaging 14.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.1 SPG while shooting 47.3% FG and 37% 3P.

Les Alexander paid him $2,664,750 total in three seasons!

Parsons was good to go from the start. But his success in red and yellow is the prime example of Morey’s second round prowess, which includes Chase Budinger, Isaiah Canaan and Montrezl Harrell.

This year the Rockets have the 43rd and 45th pick and don’t be surprised if they trade for a few more second rounders.

Because these picks are more valuable to Morey than ever before as... NBA rosters expand next year.

I wrote earlier this year how Morey jettisoned the Rockets 2017 first round pick for Lou Williams (and the ability to get rid of Corey Brewer) because a late first round pick is a Moreyball ankle-weight because it’s second round talent with a guaranteed first round contract.

One of the reasons is the new collective bargaining agreement will add a 16th and 17th NBA roster spot through the introduction of two way contracts. These allow NBA teams to have rostered players who actually play for D-League/Gatorade League teams.

Daryl Morey has two more roster spots to fill! This has to feel like the Christmas when Morey got his circuitry for kids set.

And there’s two ways this could make Morey change his approach from previous years:

SCENARIO ONE

There’s 60 new roster spots to fill next season because of the two way contracts. This will create a second round feeding frenzy of teams searching for players to put in uniforms.

Morey can avoid this feeding frenzy by using his second round picks on draft and staff international players, like 2017 - 2018 Houston Rocket Zhou Qi. There’s a chance international projects who are not guaranteed to come over will be overlooked in this draft because teams want to put bodies in jerseys this year.

Draft and stash picks make sense for the Rockets as well. A second round pick has the same chance of flaming out as some of Morey’s undrafted finds. If that’s the immediate case you lose the asset when you release them.

An international pick is an asset you don’t lose regardless of their skills. Sergio Llull for example is still tied to the Rockets despite having no intent of coming over. And there’s no cap hit for retaining his rights.

A Latvian or French draft and stash won’t be a cap hit for the Rockets as they continue to pursue “four All-Stars” (rolls eyes). And with the recent announcement that the NBA cap will be $2 million less than originally projected next season, every contract offered to a draft pick matters.

If the Rockets draft and stash in the second round. Then they’re deadly serious about pursuing an All-Star free agent.

SCENARIO TWO

The Rockets have been amazing bottom feeders after the NBA Draft in the Moreyball era. Robert Covington, Kyle Wiltjer, Tarik Black and Ish Smith are all examples of players Morey signed as undrafted free agents after the draft.

Signing as many undrafted players as possible the minute the draft ends is a distinctly Morey move the entire league may emulate this season in a rush to fill their rosters and sign players with potential to two way contracts.

This new dynamic may cause Morey to rush on the players he has targeted as undrafted players.

In my mind NBA players and agents view Morey and the Rockets as a team who views players as a product and an asset. It’s just a business to them.

Someone like Robert Covington may go from being ecstatic to get a contract offer from the Rockets and only the Rockets after going undrafted to receiving multiple offers and deciding which team gives him the clearest path to an NBA jersey.

If that’s the reality then Morey would have to slide down the draft board and select someone he would have tagged with an undrafted contract in the past.

Since this is the first year of two way contracts we may not see either of these dynamics in this draft because NBA teams haven’t anticipated the actions of their peers yet.

We’ll certainly see Morey have to adapt in 2018 as the new normal of 17 man rosters sink in. I’d bet he’s a step ahead and the Rockets two second round picks will matter more in 2017 than they have in the past.