2007 Draft Preview: Houston Rockets
Authored by Christopher Reina - 11th May, 2007 - 6:25 pm
2006-2007 Finish: 52-30
Draft Pick: 26th overall
What they do well
With two of the best players in the entire NBA, the Houston Rockets will be a threat as long as Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady are healthy. In their third year together, they each made the second All-NBA team and recorded 52 wins. The Rockets are deeper than they appear on first glance as they were the fourth seed despite Yao playing in only 48 games.
Where do they need improvement?
McGrady feels the Rockets need a more athletic power forward, as well as a playmaker and a backup point guard. If his press conference following Game 7 was any indication, he is very desperate to see significant changes made immediately.
I am inclined to agree with McGrady, though there isn’t a single power forward in this draft that would fit the bill. Brandan Wright is the only power forward with athleticism on the board, so that need will have to come via trade or free agency.
There are, however, multiple playmaker wings and several quality point guards that will be available for the club to select.
Who they should target?
Before new GM Daryl Morey gets his feet wet in free agency and possibly the trade market, he will have the 26th pick to utilize to improve a team desperate to get over the first round hump.
When examining their roster, the main problem they have is a host of average players and it is unlikely they will find a true impact maker at this point in the draft.
In my latest mock draft, I had the Rockets selecting center Kyle Visser, but due to the extinction of the center, they should instead go for one of the combo guards that could be available. Houston is known to be coveting an improvement at point guard for Rafer Alston, especially one with more size.
- Jarvis Crittenton, Georgia Tech:
Crittenton would be the ideal selection for the Rockets because he is highly athletic, has a good handle and his weakness, perimeter spot up shooting, is something Houston already has plenty of. The window in Houston is closing by the season and due to his youth, he may not be ready to contribute in year one.
- Gabe Pruitt, USC:
Pruitt is a very similar player to Crittenton in terms of athleticism, but he is older and also has a better outside shot. The ceiling on Pruitt is, however, far lower than Crittenton’s. As a junior last season, he averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 assists for the Trojans.
- Rodney Stuckey, Eastern Washington:
Stuckey is far from a pure point guard, but he can play the position and is a proven scorer, though he is a very average outside shooter. Stuckey averaged 24.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game as a sophomore last season. He was predicted to be selected 22nd by the Bobcats in RealGM's most recent mock draft.
Picks over the past five years
Ever since the franchise changing Yao Ming selection in 2002, the Rockets have received nearly no reinforcements via the draft. Many of their picks have been dealt away, which has led them to be in such dire need for young athleticism.
Rudy Gay, 8th overall (traded to Memphis)
Steve Novak, 32nd
Luther Head, 25th
Luis Flores, 55th
Malick Badiane, 44th
Yao Ming, 1st
Boštjan Nachbar, 15th
Tito Maddox, 38th