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Tuesday October 17, 2006 3:45 PM


Final Adaptation?


Snyder is finding a role -- and maybe a home -- with his third NBA team




Damien Pierce
Rockets.com Staff Writer


HOUSTON -- Since arriving in the Bayou City, Kirk Snyder has been adjusting to a new scheme and adapting to a new role.

So, really, not much has changed in Snyder's world.

The Rockets guard is wearing his third different uniform in three NBA preseasons and has flipped through more playbooks than most of the league's veterans.

Snyder jokes that at his current rate of adapting to new systems, he could play for just about any team.

"That's been my NBA profile," Snyder said. "I'm always having to adjust. I'm getting to the point where I can adapt to any offensive or defensive scheme in the league."

Deep down, however, Snyder is hoping one more period of adjustment will be enough.

Over three years after entering the league as a first-round pick, Snyder is hoping that he has finally found an NBA home in Houston.

The Rockets' 6-foot-6 and 225-pound guard is certainly convinced that he has landed in the right place. He is the big and athletic guard that the Rockets have been missing on the perimeter in recent seasons and Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy believes that the third-year player could eventually become a "lock-down defender." Snyder, in other words, might finally be finding a clear-cut role with a team.

While Van Gundy is still tinkering with different lineups in the preseason, Snyder has never felt better about his own situation with a team.

He sees himself finally fitting in somewhere.

"The best thing you can do is just play basketball and I feel like I can do that here," Snyder said. "I like being with this team because the guys here have roles right off the bat. There are established players and they're good people. When a guy is a good person like Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, it makes it a lot easier to fall in line and do what everyone asks."

Since entering the league, Snyder has rarely had the opportunity to see things so clearly.

After spending his rookie season with Utah in 2004-05, Snyder was shipped to New Orleans/Oklahoma City. He said he was overwhelmed with learning another scheme in his second season and didn't fully adjust until the season was underway.

The guard eventually became a part-time starter and proved he could be productive with point guard Chris Paul, sinking 46.3 percent of his shots. The Hornets, however, shipped him to Houston after acquiring a bundle of guard talent over the offseason.

Snyder is optimistic that he has found a good situation in Houston.

"I have a good idea of what they want from me and I'm willing to do whatever they need from me," Snyder said. "Right now, I'm still trying to figure out where coach needs me to be and what I'm supposed to do since I'm new to the team. But I think I'm in a good situation with coach Van Gundy."

Snyder has shown flashes of his potential.

After a rough outing against Memphis in the preseason opener, Snyder bounced back to score 15 points and secure seven rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench against Atlanta on Friday. He made five of 10 shots, including two of three beyond the three-point arc.

Since Bonzi Wells hasn't played in the preseason because of a groin injury and two root canal procedures, Snyder's role isn't completely defined. He could either be a starter at shooting guard or a regular off the bench.

Van Gundy said the most important thing for Snyder is being consistent.

"He has some good moments that he needs to string together more," Van Gundy said. "He has worked hard and he has size at that position that we haven't had. But most guys want to be go-to players and that's not really going to be here for him. He's just needs to be consistent on every play. That's the main concern for him."

Snyder believes he'll eventually do that for Van Gundy.

After all, he'd like to keep wearing the same jersey.

"There is no hoping to it," Snyder said. "I can't worry about those things, but I don't want to keep changing. I just have to do the best job that I can do."