Thursday, June 26, 2008

It's Draft Time Already? has the Rockets taking Marreese Speights (C, 6-10, 245 lbs) out of Florida. But NBA-TV,, and all have Houston taking Chris Douglas-Roberts (SF, 6-6, 195 lbs). The fan consensus seems to think the Rockets need Georgetown center Roy Hibbert (C, 7-2, 275 lbs).

For the first time in a long time, I'm not too concerned with who the Rockets take. Morey imbues confidence already with a solid track record. And according to Feigen's report, Morey has options and likes them. He's not expecting Speights or Hibbert to be around at 25. Hibbert might have been a possibility earlier in the off-season as international bigs (Alexis Ajinca, Ante Tomic, etc.) started getting more hype but scouts seem to have come to their senses after workouts. Speights looks better anyway.

Hibbert is big and ready to contribute. He should transition fairly easily into the Rockets system but he's always looked a little stiff to me. Speights is more agile and athletic, potentially a Tyson Chandler kind of player. A strong finisher around the rim, something the Rockets need. But alas, on almost every other board, he's out of reach. The consensus seems to be Chris Douglas-Roberts who gained national attention after his performance in the NCAA Tournament.

He's not the big man Rockets fans want but he's a natural scorer that can bring some spice in off the bench. If you saw him play you know he has an awkward yet innovative game, the kind you can't read, a big part of what makes Manu Ginobili--and Jeff Hornacek before him--so good offensively. But what really lifted these players into elite NBA guards was their tenacity on both sides of the court. Douglas-Roberts has that. He hates to lose--in fact, he claims he's never lost a pick-up game in his life.

At best, Douglas-Roberts can be a less athletic (but not by much) Shawn Marion, another awkward baller. He's a lengthy player that gets after it on defense and just finds a way to get the ball in the rim around the paint. He won't be the rebounder Marion is, but he could be a better one-on-one defender. As far as most scouts are concerned, he's already NBA ready--limited upside but tools to contribute right away. His strength is questionable but as Tony Parker can tell you (or show you) its not how strong you look, its how strong you play.

Douglas-Roberts just looks like a good fit in Houston in that he doesn't fit the description of anyone else on the roster. Of course, this is assuming the Rockets don't want to go big or for a project to considered later down the line. Morey is open to these options but if last season is any indication, he'll take the best talent on the board.

Here's some more of that athleticism...

Yes, that's Kevin Love. See, not by much.

Originally posted at Yao Central on June 26 08:32 AM

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