DRAFT TRADE: Rockets acquire No. 52 overall pick Vincent Edwards in trade with Utah Jazz for cash considerations 

Pre-Draft Analysis

Areas Of Strength
Daryl Morey won’t rest until he gets the Rockets back into the championship round. He came one game shy of completing that task this season by uniting Chris Paul with James Harden and the ideal supporting cast to challenge the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets compiled the best regular season in franchise history, earned the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs and hosted the Warriors in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals. But they had to play without Paul (hamstring injury) and endured the worst shooting stretch from beyond the 3-point line in NBA playoff history. But rather than lament what might have been lost, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni gushed about his team’s effort, guts and skill. He and Morey think the breakthrough is on its way.

Needs Work
Houston’s math against the Warriors still doesn’t add up. The Warriors four All-Stars still trump what the Rockets bring to the party in James Harden and Chris Paul. The route the Rockets took this season worked well, they got everything they wanted except for that win on their home floor in Game 7 of the conference finals. Does another superstar, say a certain freight train from Cleveland, close that gap completely? You better believe the Rockets will be aggressive in their pursuit of whoever they think helps get them over the top.

Two Stats That Matter 
15.6 -- Taking a record 50.2 percent of their shots from 3-point range, the Rockets outscored their opponents by 15.6 points per game on 3-pointers.

100.3 -- The Rockets scored just 100.3 points per 100 possessions in the conference finals, 11.9 fewer than they scored in the regular season and 10.8 fewer than they scored through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

-- John Schuhmann

The Way To Go
First round draft picks are a luxury Morey lives without when he’s trying to put the finishing touches on a championship-caliber roster. They’re too valuable an asset to hold on to when you’re not in rebuilding mode. So it’s good that the Rockets have only a second round (46) to work with this time around. That’s where a quality shooter/scorer like Malik Newman or his Kansas teammate and All-American point guard Devonte Graham, might fit.

2017-18 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 112.2 (2nd)
Defensive: 103.8 (6th)

Under Contract

G: James Harden
G: Eric Gordon
G: RJ Hunter
G: Aaron Jackson
F: PJ Tucker
F: Ryan Anderson
C/F: Nene
C: Chinanu Onuaku
F/C: Zhou Qi 

Free Agents

G: Chris Paul (unrestricted)
G/F: Joe Johnson (unrestricted)
G/F: Gerald Green (unrestricted)
G: Markel Brown (unrestricted)
F/G: Trevor Ariza (unrestricted)
F: Luc Mbah a Moute (unrestricted)
F/C: Tarik Black (unrestricted)
F: Clint Capela (unrestricted)

Recent Draft History

2017: Isaiah Hartenstein (43), Dillon Brooks (45) traded to Memphis
2016: Chinanu Onuaku (37); Zhou Qi (43)
2015: Sam Dekker (18); Montrezl Harrell (32)
2014: Clint Capela (25); Nick Johnson (42)
2013: Isaiah Canaan (34)
2012: Jeremy Lamb (12), Royce White (16), Terrence Jones (18)

 -- Sekou Smith


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