Rockets Get James Harden Some Help in the Draft But Not What He Expected

Last season the expectations were not real high for the Houston Rockets after the team lost Chandler Parsons in free agency.

While losing Parsons stung the loss of Dwight Howard for a good chunk of the season to injury had most thinking the Houston Rockets were going to be looking at an early summer and a high draft pick. Instead the Rockets take second in the Western Conference and beat the Clippers in an exciting seven-game series before falling to the eventual NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the Conference Finals.  

So while expectations for the season were exceeded all that means now is that they will be set a lot higher going in to next season. The question is, however, what will the team do to improve so that they can rise above yet again?

If you ask James Harden (which many did at the end of the season) the team needed to upgrade the backcourt. Many expected the team to do so in the draft, but instead the Rockets took Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker and Louisville forward Motrezl Harrell.

Hmmm….interesting choices, right? GM Daryl Morey has long been a believer in getting the best player available rather than just covering a need hence taking Dekker over a guard and Harrell as well.

So—mistake? Not at all. Harden may not have seen the team draft the help he wanted, but the team improved nevertheless.

In Dekker the team thinks it has really good shooter that will fit in well with their system. Yes, he will have to adjust for the NBA three-point line, but the team is confident a player with his high basketball IQ will not have a problem doing just that.

"He's skilled for his size," Houston assistant coach Chris Finch said. "He's actually pretty quick with a good first step and aggressive at attacking the rim. His shot sets up a lot of his drive opportunities. What I've liked is he's kind of fearless. Whether he goes in to attack the bucket or make a play for somebody else he's got an attack mentality and we love that here."

Dekker sees the Rockets as being a perfect fit for a player of his abilities:“I love to run the court, play above the rim, shoot from the outside and attack and put the defense on their heels and that's what the Houston Rockets love to do ... so I think I'll fit in really easily."

There were some that were a little surprised that Louisville power forward Motrezl Harrell was still available when the Rockets snagged him in the second round. A big guy at 253 pounds he will give the Rockets a good presence underneath the basket when it comes to battling for rebounds. His athleticism and energy are expected to go a long way towards helping him earn playing time.

“Montrezl Harrell is a super, high energy big that plays great in our system that is up-tempo and transition,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “He led the country in dunks the last two years and has the wingspan of a center. He is really someone we target with a high motor.”  

So while the team did not draft the help that Harden wanted it did pick up two solid players that at the least will provide some valuable minutes off the bench when the team needs them most next season. Who knows, Harden could still get what he wants. Morey loves to make a good trade and he has plenty of time during the off-season to come up with one.





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