The Houston Rockets own two picks in the 2014 NBA Draft that will take place this Thursday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The Rockets will pick late in the first round with the #25 pick and again in the middle of the second round, with the #42 pick. The NBA Draft is a single night event so the Rockets will have two new players by the end of the night.
With the emergence of the Rio Grande Vipers, the Rockets Developmental league affiliate, it is most likely that whoever the Rockets select in the second round will start their NBA careers on the Vipers.
In last season’s NBA Draft, the Rockets used their second round pick on Isaiah Canaan. Canaan, a point guard out of Murray State, saw limited action on the Rockets last season. However, Canaan exploded in the 22 games he played in the D-League averaging almost 24 ppg.
The Rockets will look to improve on last season’s first round exit, and adding a solid bench player from the draft would be an excellent start. They will need to improve their perimeter defense. Dwight Howard is able to control the paint down low, but we have all witnessed the defensive deficiencies of James Harden and Jeremy Lin. Adding a player like Kyle Anderson with length and size would be able to help the Rockets defensive problem.
There are obvious holes on the Rockets bench as well. Francisco Garcia, Omer Asik, and Jeremy Lin are likely on their way out and there are plenty of holes to fill. Terrence Jones did an excellent job as the starting power forward last season, and it is important to provide a serviceable backup for him. Cleanthony Early showed off his scoring ability as well as athleticism during the NCAA tournament, and could be the high energy player the Rockets need coming off the bench.
Another player the Rockets can look to draft is point guard Shabazz Napier. Napier is a big game player and is not afraid of the moment. He is the kind of guard that will be effective in the NBA from day one. If the Rockets end up trading Jeremey Lin in their pursuit for Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, Napier can step in and compete for the backup point guard position with Isaiah Canaan. There’s nothing wrong with adding a little extra competition, and Napier is a fierce competitor.
The Rockets will need to be successful in this years draft if they plan on making the next step into Championship aspirations. We will look forward to see what Daryl Morey has in mind this Thursday.