|The Rockets are reportedly eyeing Andre Drummond. (Getty Images)|
Rockets GM Daryl Morey has made it clear that he believes NBA teams need to be prepared to take calculated risks in the Draft if they plan to hit home runs. Could Houston be pursuing just such a path this week week?
ESPN.com reports that the Rockets have exchanged communication with multiple teams in the top-8 about a possible move up the Draft board with UConn center Andre Drummond seen as a possible target.
Although sources stressed that no deal is imminent, Sacramento (No. 5) and Toronto (No. 8 ) have let Houston know that their top-10 selections are available. Sources say that the Rockets, in turn, have made both of their first-round picks available (No. 14 and No. 16), but the key to any trade going through could be point guard Kyle Lowry.
What's clear from the Rockets' end, sources say, is the player they're fondest of in the upper reaches of the draft: UConn big man Andre Drummond. Many scouts believe Drummond has the second highest upside of any player in the draft behind consensus No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, but the 7-foot, 279-pounder would almost certainly still be available at No. 5.
Houston has been mired in the middle, having failed to make the playoffs in three consecutive seasons despite posting a winning record in each. Lowry, who recently expressed dissatisfaction with coach Kevin McHale, is available because the Rockets are expected to pursue re-signing free agent point guard Goran Dragic, who stepped into a starting role when Lowry was sidelined with a virus.
Lowry would be an upgrade for both the Kings and the Raptors at the point guard position and his reasonable $5.75 million contract (which runs through 2013-14) makes him a very attractive target for any team in need of a starting caliber point guard. Both Sacramento and Toronto should demand him in any trade involving their pick, considering his availability and their struggles in recent years and need for proven talent.
The Rockets, with some promising young talent on the wings, do have a major hole to fill in the middle. Veteran center Marcus Camby saw his contract expire. While he's said that he wants to be back in Houston he's no longer capable, at 38 years of age, to play starter's minutes and remain healthy for an entire season. Houston's other center, Samuel Dalembert, is on a partially-guaranteed deal, making him excellent trade bait.
The book on Drummond is fairly open at this point: excellent body, questionable motor, good shot-blocker, terrible free-throw shooter. He's a project who could become dominant or fizzle but he's seen as a solid value in this class if he slips out of the top-4 due to his size, quickness and youth.
For Houston, endlessly spinning its wheels, it's probably time to go big or go home and shake up the snowglobe this summer. And you can't go bigger in the Draft than Drummond.