The 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft is still(!) underway, with each SB Nation blogger making selections for their respective teams. Tom Martin from The Dream Shake, SB Nation's Houston Rockets blog (as well as SB Nation Houston), checks in to make the fourteenth overall selection in this year's mock.
With the fourteenth overall pick in the 2010 SB Nation NBA Mock Draft, the Houston Rockets have selected Eric Bledsoe, guard, Kentucky Wildcats.
Martin explains: Sometimes, if you sit in one spot for too long - suppose it's in English class - your knee might start to fidget and twitch up and down with incredible persistence, as if you're drumming for Spoon or something. And in most cases, you get so used to it that it becomes commonplace and you might as well accept that it's going to happen whether you like it or not.
Dean Vernon Wormer of Faber College fame once said that, "The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is me." Channeling the same markedly bad grammar, your obnoxious knee is Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. He won't stay put, and hasn't stayed put, ever. Take a look at the last time the Rockets finished a draft without making a single transaction: 2005. A year later, Morey came on board as assistant GM, lured Dawson into acquiring statistical golden boy Shane Battier, and from there continued to make draft-day moves ranging from the Carl Landry trade in 2007 to his purchase of three picks in 2009.
Daryl Morey will not sit still, and you should expect this year to be no different. The Rockets will be trading their pick. Pinky swear, cross my heart, and yada yada yada.
The Rockets are scrambling to try to move into the top ten, and if they come away unsuccessful, they'll likely end up trading down to the late first round. They want to add a player in free agency, but they also want to draft a young player or at least come away with a new roster addition by the time June 24th has come to an end. But there are only so many roster spots available, leading me to believe that something much greater is at stake here than simply drafting at fourteen and using the MLE.
But, hey, in the name of mock drafts, let's take a look at who I think the Rockets would select if they were to somehow stay at fourteen.
Ekpe Udoh, on paper, makes perfect sense for the Rockets. They need big bodies. Udoh is a big body. So, uh, BOOM! There's your pick. But not so fast, my friend.
In Morey's world and in the mind of most GM's, you draft for talent over need, period. While Udoh is a very talented player, the Rockets would much rather address their frontcourt situation via free agency or in the trade market. They'd be better off adding a proven veteran to back up Yao Ming than an unproven rookie with many, many questions. This strategy also applies to Hassan Whiteside. With Avery Bradley and Paul George off the board, I think the Rockets will select Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe, thereby adding a very young and talented player to to their backcourt.
Ha, what a stupid pick. Does he play point guard or shooting guard? Where does he fit in on the Rockets' roster? Y DIDN'T U TAKE UDOH U DUMMY!?!? All of these thoughts popped into my mind upon writing this, and I'll admit, I didn't have Bledsoe going to Houston before Scott e-mailed me requesting my pick this past Saturday night. Each of those questions above will remain unanswered, too. There's no guarantees on the position or roster front. But there are a ton of things about Bledsoe that make him a logical selection for the Rockets. Don't forget: Morey drafted Aaron Brooks when he already had three point guards on the roster back in 2007.
Though the current situation is slightly different, you can never have too many options at guard or too many assets to deal. And with the way the Rockets like to use their developmental league, this may be the perfect home for Bledsoe. He'd be able to develop as a point guard and sit behind Brooks and Kyle Lowry until ready. The D-League has worked for Jermaine Taylor thus far - there's no reason why the same strategy wouldn't work for Bledsoe, a much more talented commodity.
As for Bledsoe, the player, let's quote some people with better eyes than me.
"Despite hitting just 35.3% of his jump shots off the dribble, Bledsoe shot a ridiculous 66.7% adjust field goal percentage in unguarded catch and shoot situations." -- Draft Express.
"However, he does have an extreme amount of talent. I love his intensity for the game though. While sometimes he can let his emotions get the best of him, his passion goes unmatched and it showed against us. A few plays he just wanted it more than us." -- And again, Draft Express (they know about these draft things).
Sounds like he would fit in just fine as a Rocket. Rick Adelman's offense emphasizes balanced guard play and distribution, which leads to a good portion of catch-and-shoot opportunities, something that Bledsoe does very well. He's also got the same gritty, physical approach that Lowry or most any other Rocket does. And he's only 19. There's a lot of time for him to get better, and the Rockets would gladly wait a year or two on him.
All that in mind, take this selection with a grain - no, a truckload's worth - of salt.
Ridiculous Upside reacts: Since Tom went long, I'll keep this short (He apparently didn't realize my readers don't actually like to, well, read - though that might just be my writing).
I can see what Martin's going for by taking a developmental pick in hopes of landing the big they seem to covet in free agency, but if Udoh is there? I don't think I'd pass.
Still, if the Rockets would be able to send the 14th overall pick to the D-League, whoever it may be, I'm all for it.
Ridiculous Upside's Top 5 remaining prospects: 1 - Luke Babbitt, F, Nevada. 2 - Ekpe Udoh, PF/C, Baylor. 3 - Hassan Whiteside, PF/C, Marshall. 4 - Gordon Hayward, SF, Butler. 5 - James Anderson, SG, Oklahoma State.
Sound off, SB Nation! What say you of the Bledsoe-to-Houston pick?