NBA Draft 2013: Houston Rockets look to strike gold in second round


The Houston Rockets don't have a first-round pick, but will try to capitalize on an early second-round pick again with their No. 34 overall selection.

The Houston Rockets have been very erratic with draft picks over the years, seeming to stockpile future picks without really having a clear plan for when they would drop the "future" portion of their description. Houston has selected six times in the first round over the past three years, but only Terrence Jones and an embattled Royce White remain on the present-day roster.

Daryl Morey is planning to make a run at Dwight Howard or another high-profile free agent this offseason, making the team's picks in the draft a lot less than important than the free agency calls the Rockets will make just a few days later.

Draft picks

The Rockets don't have a lot to prepare for heading into draft night, as their first-round pick belongs to the Atlanta Hawks (by way of the Terrence Williams trade a couple of seasons ago). They also sent first-round picks garnered from the Toronto Raptors (Kyle Lowry trade) and Lakers (Jordan Hill trade) in the deal to acquire James Harden. The Rockets also owned the Memphis Grizzlies' first-round pick this year thanks to a Shane Battier trade, but that pick was subsequently sent to Minnesota in return for Donatas Motiejunas.

Houston's only pick, then, is the No. 34 overall selection on draft night. The Rockets' own second-round pick is with the Hawks as part of a trade for David Andersen, but Morey was able to get the Suns' early second-rounder in return for Marcus Morris. The Rockets have found success in the second round, selecting Chandler Parsons, Carl Landry and Chase Budinger in recent years.

Depth chart

Point Guard — Patrick Beverley (non-guaranteed contract), Jeremy Lin, Aaron Brooks (non-guaranteed until June 30)

Shooting Guard — James Harden, James Anderson (non-guaranteed)

Small Forward — Chandler Parsons (non-guaranteed), Carlos Delfino (non-guaranteed until June 30), Francisco Garcia (team option), Terrence Jones

Power Forward — Thomas Robinson, Royce White, Tim Ohlbrecht (non-guaranteed)

Center — Omer Asik, Greg Smith (non-guaranteed)

The Rockets could open a lot of room on their roster, as they're only really committed to Harden, Asik, Lin and Robinson for any sort of substantial money until June 30. That is likely by plan, too, as the team can create a lot of cap space by renouncing all of the players that don't have guaranteed contracts heading into next season.

Biggest need(s)

The Rockets' biggest need is depth at the post positions and, if Delfino and Garcia aren't re-signed, a swingman will probably be necessary as well. It isn't extremely likely that any of those players will arrive in Houston through the draft, however, as the second round doesn't typically produce many first-year producers.

Potential targets

Houston loves to use their NBA Development League team, so a player like Glen Rice Jr. (scouting report) could be a good fit. Rice found some playing time with the Rockets' Rio Grande Valley Vipers this past season and turned into a valuable contributor down the stretch for the eventual D-League champions.

North Carolina State's CJ Leslie (scouting report) and Miami's Kenny Kadji (scouting report) are also in the Rockets range on SB Nation's 2013 NBA Draft big board.

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