Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey and the entire organization are fully aware of their 2014 NBA Draft needs. They know what kind of weaknesses currently plague the roster.
But now with the proposed trade of Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans being announced Wednesday night, there could be another position of need going into the draft.
What exactly are the Rockets draft day needs this year? Well that depends on who you ask.
Listed below is my opinion of their biggest needs.
But rest assured Morey will attempt to pull off his trademark draft day magic once again tonight.
Need #1: Backup Small Forward/Shooting Guard
Even with the possibility of re-signing Chandler Parsons, along with potentially landing LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony, the lack of athletic wing players were noticeable at times for the Rockets. There were times throughout the season where athletic perimeter players would put on a clinic against Houston. And when James Harden or Parsons came out the game for a breather their subs, most notably Francisco Garcia or Jordan Hamilton, usually were not a factor on both ends of the court.
For the Rockets to take the next step on establishing an improved defense, it has to start here at #25 in the first round. There will be numerous players available who can provide the boost the team needs from the bench.
The ideal player for the Rockets at the point in the draft would be an athletic wing player who can make plays with or without the basketball in his hands. Someone who can play a solid defense would be preferred, and upside to improve on both ends of the court.
Now it is more than likely that the player selected will get start his NBA career coming of the bench, barring any unforeseen circumstances. But injuries and other circumstances happen in the NBA, and when the time comes it is better to have someone waiting in the wings than not.
Possibilities: Kyle Anderson, UCLA (profiled here); James Young, Kentucky; KJ McDaniels, Clemson
Need #2: Backup Center
Now with the trade of Omer Asik there is nobody with real upside to back up Dwight Howard. But this could change with their #42 pick.
Morey is known to use his second-round picks on players that had solid careers in college, but were not considered high-ceiling prospects. However, you should never underestimate the Rockets front office for finding the most bang for it’s buck.
Past drafts have produced players such as Carl Landry, Chase Budinger, and Chandler Parsons. All three have been starting five-caliber players at some point in their respective careers. And this trend could very well continue tonight.
I believe the Rockets might go international with their second-round pick as well. But regardless if they stay state-bound or overseas look for this pick to be used on a young center with upside.
Possibilities: Nikola Jokic, Mega Viruza; Walter Tavares, Spain; Patric Young, Florida
Need #3: Salary Cap Relief
I realize that this isn’t really of position of need for the roster, but if Morey wants to sign James or Anthony, then trading his first-round pick may be a course of action. Remember that first-round picks are usually guaranteed so much money, unlike second-round picks.
By trading the pick then the Rockets can receive salary cap relief to use for a max-contract offer to any player of their choosing. And we all know how Morey likes to have optimal room under the cap when making acquisitions.
And let us not forget that with the proposed Omer Asik trade, which would have the Rockets acquire the New Orleans Pelicans first-round pick in 2015. This could lead the organization to decide to go all-in in their free-agent goals this summer while possibly obtaining a lottery pick next year, which would lessen the blow of trading this year’s first-round pick.
What do you think, Red Nation? Make sure you check out the ongoing HoH roundtable where we’re discussing who we want at #25.
Weigh in below!