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The smart play (once again)

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Plowman, Jun 4, 2023.

  1. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

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    Because we need more versatile mobile bigs at #6 & #11. Not that we don't need Brandon Miller.
    He is my top pick at #4 if there.

    Plus the Magic probably have to take that god awful contract back of Gordon Hayward.

    Luxury of Orlando having all their money tied into young rooks of Banchero-Wagner and now Brandon Miller is that they can take on the contracts of a Gordon Haywood.

    That would eat into the money going to Harden as a Rocket.

    I see probably Cole Anthony going to Charlotte
    just in case Scoot takes more than a year to get things.
     
    theDude likes this.
  2. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

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    Because we need more versatile mobile bigs at #6 & #11. To go with Bari/Tari.

    Brandon Miller is my top pick at #4; but Jarace and Lively solve a lot of problems long term

    Plus the Magic probably have to take that god awful contract back of Gordon Hayward.

    Luxury of Orlando having all their money tied into young rooks of Banchero-Wagner and now Brandon Miller is that they can take on the contract of a Gordon Haywood.

    That would eat into the money going to Harden as a Rocket.

    I see probably Cole Anthony going to Charlotte
    just in case Scoot takes more than a year to get things.
     
  3. daywalker02

    daywalker02 Member

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    Orlando has mostly been a decent drafting team pre Dwight era, then they still had draft luck but didn't pick as well.
     
  4. theDude

    theDude Contributing Member
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    I understand the approach now. I guess I would rather trade for LaMelo with #4 and then go for a versatile or mobile big through free agency (Cam Johnson, Naz Reid, etc.). I like the possibility of trading #4 for a possible long-term solution. Personal preference.
     
    ApacheWarrior likes this.
  5. ApacheWarrior

    ApacheWarrior Member

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    Yeah my Clutchfans has been clitching for weeks.
    I thought I put Magic's #6 pick and #11 pick for our #4 pick.

    I think I wrote Magic-Hornets trade for LaMelo using players not named Banchero-Wagner and future picks (not #6 & #11).

    Hornets: would get probably Cole Anthony and others.
    Hornets
    Scoot-Rozier--Cody Martin-Miles Bridges-Mark Williams.....Kelly Oubre, Nick Richards
    https://www.si.com/nba/hornets/news/hornets-could-surprise-the-league-next-season
    You can read in the article what it says about Mark Williams and what I project Dereck Lively to be for us.

    Magic: brought in Fultz, drafted Cole Anthony and Suggs......now trade for their answer at PG because no decent FA's will go there presently.
    Magic
    LaMelo-B Miller-Wagner-Banchero-Wendell Carter

    Rockets going quantity (#6&#11) vs quality (#4)

    Rumor (Kelly Iko) tweeted Rockets very high on Brook Lopez. Which I mentioned the other day when I saw Zach Edey is going back to Purdue.
     
    #85 ApacheWarrior, Jun 6, 2023
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2023
  6. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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    From Sam Vecenie’s just released draft guide…

    06. Jarace Walker | F | Houston | Birthdate: Sept. 4, 2003 (Age: 19) | 6-7 | 245 LBS | Hometown: New Freedom, Pa.

    BACKGROUND
    Parents are Horace and Marcia. Comes from an athletic family. Has three siblings Jaden, Natichia and Sherelle. Sherelle is a former volleyball standout at UMBC, and his sister Jaden is a basketball player at St. Joseph’s. Hard to overemphasize how much of a youth standout Jarace was. He was a known player nationally by the time he was in middle school. Could have stayed home in Pennsylvania but decided at the start of his high school career to attend powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Walker was already at about 6-foot-7, 220 pounds by the start of his sophomore year in high school. He earned freshman All-American honors in his first year at IMG and was a useful player throughout his early career on loaded rosters that included Mark Williams, Jaden Springer, Moussa Diabaté, Jett Howard and Zach Edey. Team also added George in his senior year. Walker played as more of an initiator and passer as a point forward early on. Missed most of his junior season due to a right foot injury and returned for his senior season, where he showcased his all-around game again. Averaged 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists while playing an exceptionally difficult national schedule, leading IMG to the national semifinals before it fell to Sunrise Christian. Walker earned McDonald’s All-American honors and was invited to the Nike Hoop Summit. He was a consensus five-star recruit and was in the top 15 of his class. He committed to Houston at the start of his senior year and gave the team its best recruiting class in recent school history next to Terrance Arceneaux. Walker chose Houston over Alabama and Auburn, but Houston was the clear favorite throughout the process. His freshman season at Houston went about as well as it possibly could have. He won AAC Freshman of the Year and was named second-team All-AAC. Helped lead Houston to an AAC regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Houston lost in the Sweet 16 to Miami. Walker decided to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft follow- ing the season and hired an agent. Was invited to the 2023 NBA Draft Combine.

    STRENGTHS
    Walker has strong physical measurements for an NBA player. He comes in near 6-foot-7 without shoes with a 7-foot-2 1/2 wingspan. He’s nearly 250 pounds and was about as strong a freshman as you’ll find in the country. That size allows him to cover a lot of ground. He has big, strong hands that allow him to cause issues on the glass and as a defender. Moves well if you think he’s a four/five hybrid, which allows him to eat up a ton of space across the court with his length. Also, for someone with this body type with such a thick chest and torso, he can be light on his feet. Just plays hard. Motor is constantly running. He’s aggressive and plays with the level of desire and physicality you want to see in a versatile big man.

    That translates best on defense right now. Walker has a case as one of the more disruptive and versatile defenders in this class. He is an interesting weapon in on-ball actions as a big defender. He uses his strength and quickness combination well, getting his chest in front of his man. Because he’s so strong, college guys really couldn’t go through him. Also does a really underrated job of using his length and hands to get into offensive players’ airways to disrupt what they’re trying to do. If you try to pull up for a jump shot, there’s a real chance he’s going to swat you with his timing and length on the ball. He’s awesome on an island against wings and good against guards. Swallows up smaller players with his length. You can’t go through him and can’t go around him.

    More than that, Walker showed real versatility in defending ball screens as the big. The Cougars used him in several different ways depending on the opponent. Sometimes they’d blitz. Sometimes they’d hard hedge and recover. Sometimes they’d play more at the level of the screen. When he’s the big defender in a drop, he does a really good job of playing cat-and-mouse to disrupt the action. Other times, they’ll just switch. In those switch scenarios, he’s showcased real ability to stay in front of his man, not allowing him to turn the corner. A great example is when Houston played Alabama early in the season, and he caused all sorts of problems for the Tide’s Brandon Miller by using his strength to really stick on him.

    I think Walker’s better off the ball. He is smart reading the play and anticipating what defenders are trying to do. Gets a lot
    of deflections on the weak side and forces the occasional steal. Makes the loud help-side rim protection from the weak side regularly. Will make smart, timely rotations across the play to protect the weak side of the rim and use his immense length
    to go straight up and down if he doesn’t have an angle into a swat. Will also make random strongside rotations to recover to
    help a teammate if that player gets beat and seems to have that true sense of timing that allows you to be successful in these circumstances. Closes out well. Seems to understand he can use his length to be able to impact shooters without having to leave his feet. A terrific scramble and recovery player. Has an immense amount of potential role versatility on the defensive end. You can use him potentially as a stopper or as a free safety-style defender on the opposing team’s worst player and utilize him to help all over the place with his length and anticipation. A true defensive playmaker and chess piece.

    Offensively, Walker is best right now with his ability to move the ball to his teammates within the run of play as a passer and playmaker. He’s not a guy who’s going to break you down off the bounce but does a great job of recognizing four-on-threes and three-on-twos to find his open man. Processes the game super well. Makes passes on the move out of short rolls, which I think is where this skill probably will be best utilized at the next level, with Walker playmaking out of ball screens as the roll man. Loves to hit the high-low read to the dunker spot when the help steps up to him. But also makes sharp reads out of the dunker spot when defenders collapse down on him and can also make live-dribble reads off closeouts to the open man. Wouldn’t say he’s the best ballhandler in the world, but he’s comfortable enough with the ball to put it between his legs or to patiently probe dribble to draw defenders toward him. Not necessarily manipulating defenders, but he just reads and anticipates what’s happening around him super well. Only averaged 1.8 assists per game this past season, but his overall usage wasn’t high, and many of his passes ended up being hockey assists.

    Walker has a lot of work to do as a scorer, but there are positive moments. He loves his floater game. He took 50 floaters this past season, per Synergy. Most of his positive work as a scorer comes with his off-ball movement. Smart cutter. Good at relocating around his teammates in spot-up situations to either shoot or drive. Recognizes when to attack off rolls to score and when to roll all the way to the rim and recognizes in dribble handoffs when the play opens for him to keep the ball and drive himself. Also had ridiculous stepback flashes this past season where it’s easy to get excited about him as a potential pull-up threat with his high release point, but those were few and far between.
     
  7. J.R.

    J.R. Member

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    WEAKNESSES
    How high you are on Walker probably depends on what you think of him positionally. If you think he has enough quickness and athleticism to handle some play on the wing defensively in addition to handling occasional small-ball big duties, you probably love him. If you think he’s more of a big, you might be a bit lower. There aren’t many players quite like him within this archetype or many players who look like him physically in the NBA. You strangely expect Walker to impose his physicality more often.

    For instance, one of the physical comparables you could make is Jarred Vanderbilt, and in college, Vanderbilt was a historically relevant rebounder within the last two decades on a per-possession basis. But I think he The big question with Walker is how he scores at the next level. Everything is a bit inefficient right now. Let’s start with the shooting. Has really shown a ton of growth in this area over the last two years and seems to have some touch. There is potential here. But it’s hard to feel extremely confident in some of the mechanical issues, and he doesn’t seem wildly confident given his lack of volume from 3. The good is that he has really improved his shot prep. If there is a shot that could come available out of spot-ups, his feet are always set, he’s on-balance and looking to take them off the hop. But the load time takes too long right now. Would get contested on closeouts a bit too easily when those shooting windows close at the next level. Additionally, as he brings the ball up, he has a bit of a hitch as he brings the ball to his shooting pocket. Walker made 34.4 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s per Synergy, a not-terrible number but not consistent enough. Needs to prove that he can make them consistently. Loves to settle for midrange jumpers too. Will need to extend that range back out more comfortably to the 3-point line. Took 41 midrange pull-up jumpers last year, which was about 30 percent of his half-court jumper attempts. Made just 29 percent of these shots, per Synergy. Also only made 34 percent of his floaters this past season. Not sure this is a valuable piece for him moving forward.

    As mentioned above, he’s OK making one or two moves, and there is some body control here that allows him to Euro step around one guy when he has space. He attacks closeouts to playmake for his teammates. There are genuine building blocks for this to be a real improvement area moving forward. But his driving to attack and score needs quite a bit of work in the half court. He has a few too many player control fouls. Doesn’t really generate pressure on the rim with his drives. Goes away from contact. It’s wild that a player this big and physically imposing averaged 2.2 free throws per game. He doesn’t use his power to its potential. For the most part, he’s settling for his 8-foot floater.

    Generally, Walker doesn’t finish well enough. The floater and its footwork look OK, but he doesn’t make a ton of those. Doesn’t get to the rim enough. Don’t think his footwork is all that good in terms of deceleration steps, and he doesn’t look all that balanced or comfortable trying to finish around opponents. Made 62.3 percent of his shots at the basket at Houston but only got there about 1.5 times per game in half-court settings, per Synergy. Even a lot of his impressive finishes come from strange off- balance angles. Much like with the shooting, the flashes as a creator are super interesting but are a bit too few and far between, especially for someone who is legit wing-sized in the NBA.

    I love Walker as an overall defender, but right now, I think he’s more of a big defender and an interesting pick-and-roll defender than a wing stopper. I don’t know how comfortable I would feel with him fighting through on-ball actions being run by big lead ballhandlers, such as Jayson Tatum and Kawhi Leonard. His foot speed is good for a big but not elite wing-level. He also doesn’t really navigate screens well because of how wide he is, so if he’s going to be a defense-first player, he’s probably best off in help circumstances or in more isolation-heavy matchups.

    SUMMARY
    Walker is a fascinating player. It’s easy to imagine his role as a havoc-inducing defensive four who blocks shots on the weak
    side and plays switchable defense. That especially all comes together in an interesting package of skills if Walker becomes a consistent shooter, given his playmaking ability as a passer. But if the shooting isn’t there, it does become a bit trickier to make him work as a four given that he’s also not all that impactful as a half-court driver and finisher right now. He might end up being more of a small-ball, switchy big man, which is relatively OK, but it probably does limit his upside a touch given that he’s not elite at finishing possessions as a rebounder, and he isn’t quite as elite as a primary rim protector. There are a few more tweener risks with Walker than what I think has been displayed. Still, if it works, and Walker becomes capable as a switchable four who can hit shots, his upside as a winning player is enormous due to how he processes the game so quickly as a passer. I don’t see Walker as an All-Star, but he might be someone who helps a winning team in a big way, just as he did with Houston.
     

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