Rockets GM Daryl Morey Meets With The Media To Discuss The Draft (And Mention The Aborted Pau Gasol Trade A Few Times)
While the NBA Playoffs have been rolling toward their exciting conclusion in Miami and Oklahoma City, back here in Houston, the Rockets have been busy trying to figure out how they can somehow come out of the next few months of NBA player activity with a team that at least feels like a threat to make the playoffs in 2012-13.
Photo by Daniel Kramer Daryl Morey on what the Rockets' future holds
By whatever means necessary -- the draft next week, free agency, craigslist -- the time is now for the Rockets to go from Daryl Morey's personal "asset swap" garage sale to a roster built around someone, someone either with serious perennial All-Star potential or (gasp) an actual perennial All-Star.
Daryl Morey met with the media yesterday to discuss what he's been up to recently and what his expectations are for the next few weeks and months. Below is a transcript of the important chunks of that media session along with some of my
far less intelligent than Morey's thoughts sprinkled in with the header "SP:".
Morey on his place in next Thursday's draft
DM: We're excited. We really like the draft. We like the players we'll get in this range. We were looking at it and, the past couple of years, we were picking 14 and one year we liked eight guys and another year we liked ten guys, so we were sweating it quite a bit. This year we feel comfortable that there's at least 16 guys we think are solid picks. We feel like we're going to leave the draft with two very good players assuming we don't move around, trade, things like that.
SP: Well, if you go into this draft assuming the Rockets don't "move around, trade, things like that," then you're not approaching this correctly. Right now my big board for the 14th and 16th picks looks like this:
Don't touch the hair!
-- Rockets keep both picks +125
-- Rockets package picks to move up into the top 10 +800 (I think they'd LOVE to do this, but takes two to tango)
-- Rockets trade one or both of these picks as part of some deal for a player/more picks/a Moochie Norris bobble head -130
Personally, I'd love to see a move into the top 8 somehow (Kyle Lowry and a pick?) and draft someone with some NBA skills and All-Star upside (Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers?). That said, Morey's got it right with this draft -- I think that player number 16 has as good a chance as player number 5 of making an impact. Hell, we've seen it plenty over the last few years. Look at the Pacers with a starting lineup that includes Danny Granger (17th overall), Roy Hibbert (17th), Darren Collison (21st), David West (18th). It can be done.
By the way, we may never find out, but I'll take a wild stab at Morey's sixteen players he thinks are solid picks:
No brainers (10): Anthony Davis, Brad Beal, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andre Drummond, Jeremy Lamb, John Henson, Austin Rivers, Damian Lillard
Educated guesses (5): Tyler Zeller, Terrence Jones, Kendall Marshall, Dion Waiters, Terrence Ross
Flyer (1): Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure (four-year guy with size, this year's Kenneth Faried small-school, late-first-round impact guy -- thank God the Spurs don't have a first round pick)
Let's keep moving...
Morey on the pieces in place for this offseason, and some Donatas Motiejunas updates
DM: Obviously our history is we'll be aggressive. Mr. Alexander really doesn't accept status quo and is a very competitive guy so we're going to continue to be aggressive. But the nice thing is we can be aggressive not out of desperation, but out of having two very good picks that teams will want. We have another player, Donatas Motiejunas, coming over that we're excited about, so we have a bunch of really high upside guys that we're going to add to the roster and hopefully show on the court next year what they can do...
...and the latest on Motiejunas
DM: As soon as we're allowed to sign him, which looks like it will be very early July, we plan to sign him and then he'll play for our summer league team and become part of the program here.
SP: Motiejunas is a big key to this offseason, especially if they wind up keeping the 14th and 16th picks (assuming they don't whiff on the pick like they did with Marcus Morris last season). Motiejunas is a seven-footer with skills; if they hit on one or both of the first-round picks this year (or move up into the top ten), add D-Mo to a young nucleus of Patrick Patterson, Chandler Parsons, Courtney Lee, Chase Budinger and whatever the point guard solution ends up being. That's kind of intriguing. (I'm putting Luis Scola and Kevin Martin aside in this assessment; just talking about young guys still on rookie deals or early second contracts.)