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Friday June 26, 2009 0:47 AM

Rockets Happy With Draft Night Haul

Houston purchases trio of second-round picks

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Staff Writer

Houston - The Houston Rockets came into the 2009 NBA Draft without a single, solitary draft pick at their disposal. But by the end of the night, the franchise proudly walked away from the league's annual talent-procurement extravaganza with a haul which included three new players – all purchased during a wild sequence of wheeling and dealing in the second-round.

The newest members of the team: Central Florida’s Jermaine Taylor (acquired with the 32nd overall pick), Sergio Llull from Spain (selected 34th overall) and University of Arizona product Chase Budinger (tabbed with the 44th overall selection). General Manager Daryl Morey addressed the moves after an evening spent furiously working the phones in an effort to makes the moves necessary to add all three players to the Rockets’ roster.

Jermaine Taylor was one of the best scorers in college this past year,” Morey said. “Very strong, can shoot, athletic – a guy that faced significant defensive attention, double and triple-teams, but played well when he played against top opponents. He’s a scorer. He’s a guy we can give the ball to and he can beat his man. He’s somebody who’s very hard to guard. We just feel like with Tracy McGrady a little bit questionable at the start of the year, that offensive punch Jermaine can bring is a need we have.

Sergio Llull is a point guard from Real Madrid. He’s sort of a combo guard who plays the one and the two. He’s a big guard. We saw him as the second-best international point guard in the draft. We were excited to get him when we got him and we see him as someone who can help out down the road.

“Finally Chase Budinger is very skilled and very athletic. He helped Arizona win a lot of games over the past three years. He can shoot, pass and run the floor, so we feel good about what we were able to accomplish. (Rockets’ owner) Les Alexander really stepped up tonight for the Rockets and I’ve got to thank the fans and season ticket holders who obviously make this possible as well.”

Of course, all three players have their work cut out for them in terms of cracking an already-crowded Rockets’ roster next season. Morey says Llull will likely remain with his Spanish club team, Real Madrid, for now, while Taylor and Budinger will get an opportunity to show off their unique skill-sets during the Las Vegas Summer League which kicks off July 10.

“We’re obviously a very good team,” said Morey. “We’re a team that’s going to be hard for any second-round pick to get on the floor for us… but we don’t care if a guy is a second-round pick or a free agent, or someone from Europe – we’re going to scour the world and hopefully they can show us something and make their way on the roster.”

Click here for additional, more detailed information on the Rockets' new additions.

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