Rockets Sign 2nd Round Pick Nick Johnson (DUNK VIDEO)
If there were a Hall of Fame for highly valuable second round picks, it would likely be located in Houston, perhaps as an annex to the Toyota Center.
Nick Johnson's poster dunk...in the summer league.
In the modern-day edition of the NBA draft, where the value of a draft choice has odd contractual ties to the round in which he is selected, no team has done better on draft night than the Houston Rockets.
(I was going to say no team has "taken better advantage of" the second round than the Rockets, which may still be true, but it's hard to feel like they've gamed the system when Chandler Parsons just walked for nothing after the team turned down a fourth year at $964,000. Probably semantics.)
Chase Budinger, Carl Landry, Parsons, hopefully Isaiah Canaan.
And if Daryl Morey's words about Nick Johnson match the actual output, we may have another plaque in the second round HOF.
According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, sources are telling him that the signing of Johnson is all but a done deal. Additionally, he had updates on the Rockets' entire 2014 draft class:
A day after the Rockets completed play in the Las Vegas Summer League, the Rockets expected the signing of Johnson to be imminent, a person with knowledge of their talks said. Johnson will sign a three-year deal.
The Rockets are also expected to sign first-round pick Clint Capela. Johnson and Capela are, however, the only players from the large list of prospects whose rights the Rockets hold expected on the roster.
Second-round pick Alessandro Gentile is expected to remain in Europe for at least another season. The Rockets last week did not come to terms with forward Kostas Papanikolaou after several days of talks.
Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said last week that the team has remained in contact with guard Sergio Llull, the most prized of the international prospects whose rights the Rockets control, but that he is also expected to remain with his current team.
The Capela signing is an about-face from what the team reportedly had in mind on draft night, as it was widely assumed Capela would remain stashed overseas to allow the Rockets the maximum cap space possible to sign Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh. (We don't need to rehash how that went; let's just walk slowly past the smoldering pile of Bosh jerseys, posters and voodoo dolls. Keep walking. Go.)
As for the other two, I'll be honest, I know nothing about Gentile, and I'm kind of glad that the team didn't sign Papanikolaou, mostly because typing his name in blog posts and game stories would be a royal pain in the ass.
As for Llull, how old is that guy? Didn't he come over in the Moses Malone trade? I feel like we've been talking about him since Dwight Howard wore short pants.
For now, it appears as though one of the more underrated additions to an NBA contender's roster -- considering the Rockets cut Jeremy Lin loose as their backup combo guard and considering the team's need for athleticism and defense on the wing -- might be Nick Johnson.
Hopefully, that means a whole lot of this at Toyota Center this season.....