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What if we redo the 2014-2016 NBA Drafts?

We ran a league-wide re-draft of 2014-2016 knowing what we know now about each player.

Houston Rockets Draft Picks Press Conference Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

As I alluded to in the What If Week Intro a few days ago, the highlight of our theme week is a complete redo of the 2014-2016 NBA Drafts, with each site manager for each team (yours truly!) serving as GM and making the draft picks.

As a reminder, the Houston Rockets picked 25th in 2014, 18th in 2015, and did not have a pick in the 2016 draft. For the purpose of this exercise, there were no trades allowed, so I was unable to secure us a 2016 pick and had to sit idle for that one.

What stood out to me was how truly light the NBA Draft gets after the first 15-20 picks. This wasn’t an easy exercise. Anyway, without further ado, here’s the re-draft!

2014

Original Pick: Clint Capela - The Rockets used their 25th pick to select a skinny youngster from Switzerland. It may have seemed a little strange at the time considering the Rockets already had a not-yet-washed Dwight Howard on their roster still patrolling the paint, but this pick ended up being one of the best that Daryl Morey ever made. Capela eventually took over the starting job and spent 3.5 years as one of the top players on the roster before being moved to the Atlanta Hawks in the Robert Covington deal. Unfortunately, he was long gone as expected in our What If scenario, going with the 8th pick to the Sacramento Kings.

My Pick: Langston Galloway - It was pretty slim pickings by the time things got to me (or so I thought, more on that in a second), so I was scouring the second-rounders and undrafted free agents for someone who could make an impact in H-town, and Galloway’s three-point shooting since he’s been in the league made him an enticing pick. He’s a career 37-percent shooter from deep and was in the midst of a very good season this year with the Detroit Pistons as a primary bench contributor playing 25 minutes a night. Before the stoppage, he was averaging 10.3 points points per game on 40-percent shooting from three (5 attempts per game). He’d fit right in with the Rockets with that type of marksmanship.

Also Considered: Maxi Kleber - Well, this is more of a “should have” considered, but I made a rookie GM mistake (and so did a lot of other managers). Kleber went undrafted in 2014 and didn’t even sign with anyone as an UDFA. So when I was going down the lists of players who were drafted or signed, I didn’t find him anywhere. Well, technically speaking, he was draft-eligible that year even though he wound up playing in Spain (and didn’t sign with an NBA team until 2017) and I only would have found him had I looked at lists of prospects from before the draft. One lucky team (Phoenix Suns) scooped him up two picks after me. He would’ve been a great fit in Houston with his length, shot-blocking, and capable three-point shot. Sorry, guys.

JaMychal Green - I also considered Green here for his size, rebounding, and recent development of an effective three-point shot, but figured Galloway the slightly better fit from a roster standpoint in 2014. The Rockets (and TDS) were still fighting the Terrence Jones vs. Donatas Motiejunas battle, and also had Josh Smith still on the roster for a log-jam at the four. Meanwhile, after James Harden and Patrick Beverley, the guards were 97-year-old (all ages approximate) Jason Terry and 137-year-old Pablo Prigioni. Galloway was the better need.

Here’s your full What If 2014 NBA Draft

2014 NBA Re-Draft

ORIGINAL PICK NEW PICK TEAM
ORIGINAL PICK NEW PICK TEAM
1 Andrew Wiggins Joel Embiid Cleveland Cavaliers
2 Jabari Parker Nikola Jokic Milwaukee Bucks
3 Joel Embiid Marcus Smart Philadelphia 76ers
4 Aaron Gordon Aaron Gordon Orlando Magic
5 Dante Exum Spencer Dinwiddie Utah Jazz
6 Marcus Smart Zach LaVine Boston Celtics
7 Julius Randle Jusuf Nurkic Los Angeles Lakers
8 Nik Stauskas Clint Capela Sacramento Kings
9 Noah Vonleh Julius Randle Charlotte Hornets (from Detroit)
10 Elfrid Payton Andrew Wiggins Orlando Magic (from 76ers)
11 Doug McDermott Gary Harris Chicago Bulls (from Nuggets)
12 Dario Šarić Joe Harris Philadelphia 76ers (from Magic)
13 Zach LaVine Dario Saric Minnesota Timberwolves
14 T. J. Warren Bogdan Bogdanovic Phoenix Suns
15 Adreian Payne TJ Warren Atlanta Hawks
16 Jusuf Nurkić Rodney Hood Denver Nuggets (from Bulls)
17 James Young Jerami Grant Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)[E]
18 Tyler Ennis Dwight Powell Phoenix Suns (from Washington)[F]
19 Gary Harris Jabari Parker Denver Nuggets (from Bulls)
20 Bruno Caboclo Elfrid Payton Toronto Raptors
21 Mitch McGary Jordan Clarkson Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas via L.A. Lakers and Houston)[G]
22 Jordan Adams Doug McDermott Memphis Grizzlies
23 Rodney Hood Kyle Anderson Utah Jazz (from Golden State)[H]
24 Shabazz Napier Nik Stauskas Miami Heat (from Hornets)
25 Clint Capela Langston Galloway Houston Rockets
26 P. J. Hairston Dante Exum Charlotte Hornets (from Miami)
27 Bogdan Bogdanović Maxi Kleber Phoenix Suns (from Indiana)[J]
28 C. J. Wilcox JaMychal Green Los Angeles Clippers
29 Josh Huestis Shabazz Napier Oklahoma City Thunder
30 Kyle Anderson Glenn Robinson 3 San Antonio Spurs

2015

Original Pick: Sam Dekker - The Rockets took Dekker with the 18th pick in this draft thinking he could eventually challenge for some time on the wing, but that never materialized and Dekker was sent to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the Chris Paul deal. He’s since been traded two more times, to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards. He never averaged more than the 6.5 points per game he tallied in his second year with the Rockets, and he’s now out of the NBA and playing in Russia.

My Pick: Kevon Looney - The Rockets were reportedly interested in Looney when he became a free agent last summer, though he signed back with the Golden State Warriors. But in this What If scenario, Houston gets their man from the beginning. Looney’s switch-ability as a 6’9” forward and small-ball center would make him an ideal fit in the Rockets’ system. And in our fantasy land, Dwight Howard is on his way out and there’s no Clint Capela around, so Looney would have a real chance for the minutes he’s never received with the Dubs.

Also Considered: Delon Wright - Honestly, had I managed the foresight to take Kleber in 2014, I probably take Wright here instead of Looney. The 6’5” guard is a tenacious defender and would bring an added element to Houston’s backcourt. When he received 30 minutes per night in 2019 with the Memphis Grizzlies, he averaged 12.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game.

Willie Cauley-Stein - He was the 6th overall pick in 2015, and though he never lived up to his draft status, he did averaged 12 and 7 and then 12 and 8 in back-to-back seasons with the Sacramento Kings. Like Looney, he’d have opportunity in H-town. Might his career trajectory end up differently with James Harden tossing lobs?

Here’s your full What If 2015 NBA Draft

2015 NBA Re-Draft

ORIGINAL PICK NEW PICK TEAM
ORIGINAL PICK NEW PICK TEAM
Karl-Anthony Towns Karl-Anthony Towns Minnesota Timberwolves
D'Angelo Russell Devin Booker Los Angeles Lakers
Jahlil Okafor Kristaps Porzingis Philadelphia 76ers
Kristaps Porziņģis Myles Turner New York Knicks
Mario Hezonja D'Angelo Russell Orlando Magic
Willie Cauley-Stein Kelly Oubre Sacramento Kings
Emmanuel Mudiay Josh Richardson Denver Nuggets
Stanley Johnson Montrezl Harrell Detroit Pistons
Frank Kaminsky Terry Rozier Charlotte Hornets
Justise Winslow Justise Winslow Miami Heat
Myles Turner Larry Nance Indiana Pacers
Trey Lyles Christian Wood Utah Jazz
Devin Booker Norman Powell Phoenix Suns
Cameron Payne Frank Kaminsky Oklahoma City Thunder
Kelly Oubre Jr. Bobby Portis Washington Wizards (from Hawks)
Terry Rozier Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Boston Celtics
Rashad Vaughn Royce O'Neale Milwaukee Bucks
Sam Dekker Kevon Looney Houston Rockets (from New Orleans)[B]
Jerian Grant Tyus Jones New York Knicks (from Atlanta Hawks and Wizards)
Delon Wright Willie Cauley-Stein Toronto Raptors
Justin Anderson Cedi Osman Dallas Mavericks
Bobby Portis Delon Wright Chicago Bulls
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Richaun Holmes Brooklyn Nets (from Blazers)
Tyus Jones Pat Connaughton Minnesota Timberwolves (from Cavs)
Jarell Martin Trey Lyles Memphis Grizzlies
Nikola Milutinov Willy Hernangómez San Antonio Spurs
Larry Nance Jr. Quinn Cook Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston)[C]
R. J. Hunter Jahlil Okafor Boston Celtics (from L.A. Clippers)[D]
Chris McCullough T.J.McConnell Brooklyn Nets (from Atlanta)[A]
Kevon Looney Malcolm Miller Golden State Warriors

2016

As mentioned, the Rockets had no pick in 2016 and no way to trade into the draft.

Here’s your full What If 2016 Draft

2016 NBA Re-Draft

ORIGINAL PICK NEW PICK TEAM
ORIGINAL PICK NEW PICK TEAM
Ben Simmons Ben Simmons Philadelphia 76ers
Brandon Ingram Brandon Ingram Los Angeles Lakers
Jaylen Brown Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)[A]
Dragan Bender Pascal Siakam Phoenix Suns
Kris Dunn Jamal Murray Minnesota Timberwolves
Buddy Hield Domantas Sabonis New Orleans Pelicans
Jamal Murray Buddy Hield Denver Nuggets (from New York)[B]
Marquese Chriss Malcolm Brogdon Phoenix Suns (from Kings)
Jakob Pöltl Caris LaVert Toronto Raptors (from Denver via New York)[C]
Thon Maker Dejounte Murray Milwaukee Bucks
Domantas Sabonis Malik Beasley Oklahoma City Thunder (from Orlando Magic)
Taurean Prince Fred VanVleet Atlanta Hawks (from Jazz)
Georgios Papagiannis Ivica Zubac Sacramento Kings (from Suns)
Denzel Valentine Dorian Finney-Smith Chicago Bulls
Juan Hernangómez Jakob Pöltl Denver Nuggets (from Houston)[F]
Guerschon Yabusele Cheick Diallo Boston Celtics (from Dallas)[G]
Wade Baldwin Furkan Korkmaz Memphis Grizzlies
Henry Ellenson Alex Caruso Detroit Pistons
Malik Beasley Taurean Prince Denver Nuggets (from Portland)[H]
Caris LeVert Kris Dunn Brooklyn Nets (from Pacers)
DeAndre' Bembry Danuel House Atlanta Hawks
Malachi Richardson Bryn Forbes Sacramento Kings (from Hornets)
Ante Žižić Juan Hernangómez Boston Celtics
Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot Yogi Ferrell Philadelphia 76ers (from Miami via Cleveland)[I]
Brice Johnson Derrick Jones Jr. Los Angeles Clippers
Furkan Korkmaz Jake Layman Philadelphia 76ers (from Oklahoma City via Cleveland and Denver)[J]
Pascal Siakam Skal Labissière Toronto Raptors
Skal Labissière Patrick McCaw Sacramento Kings (from Suns)
Dejounte Murray Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot San Antonio Spurs
Damian Jones Marquese Chriss Golden State Warriors

Verdict

So ultimately, the Rockets went from Clint Capela and Sam Dekker to Langston Galloway and Kevon Looney. Obviously, Capela is the best player in that group, but considering where Houston was in the draft and the fact that there really are no sleepers available since we know these guys’ trajectories already, the Rockets got two useful players out of the deal.

I do think I like the combo of Maxi Kleber and Delon Wright better than Galloway and Looney, but I’ll let you all make that final decision.

Poll

What is the better What If redraft combo for the Rockets?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    Langston Galloway and Kevon Looney
    (32 votes)
  • 47%
    Maxi Kleber and Delon Wright
    (29 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now