News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-07-10

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-07-10

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-07-10
Yao Ming's broken left foot has not been recovering well, according to team physician Tom Clanton. "At this point, the injury has the potential for him missing this next season and could be career threatening," said Clanton to the Houston Chronicle. "One of the things we are trying to get is a consensus opinion on that, to make certain there is no option we are overlooking that would provide an earlier return or would be an option for treatment that he would prefer rather than doing additional surgery." Yao could choose to have surgery immediately and miss at least part of next season, or wait and hope that the foot heals. "Sometimes that is the best option," Clanton said.

--The Rockets tried. They still don't know how close they might have come to landing a first-round pick, but they made the calls and offers, hoping to have a chance at the coveted players, starting with Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio, they wanted in Thursday's draft.

They never landed a first-round pick, but once the second-round began, they made sure to come away with a collection of offensive-minded prospects.

This came as no surprise; it is the fourth consecutive season they have bought at least one second-round pick from other teams. They spent roughly $6 million this season, indicating the value they believe they acquired with their picks.

They grabbed high-scoring Central Florida guard Jermaine Taylor, Real Madrid point guard prospect Sergio Llull two picks later, and athletic Arizona small forward Chase Budinger 10 picks later. Llull is expected to remain in Spain for at least two more seasons, time the Rockets hope will allow him to develop.

For now, however, they believe Taylor and Budinger have the offensive talents that, if augmented by other development, could allow them to fit in as well as some of the players they sought but could not land in the previous round.

"We really like what these guys are going to bring to us," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said of Taylor and Budinger. "Both can shoot the ball, play up-tempo, attack the basket, pass. We're obviously a good team and they're going to have to fight their way. But we like their talent and we like their drive to succeed."

Budinger is the more well-known, but Taylor was especially confident in his abilities to make the transition, at least as a scorer, in the NBA.

"They know I'm a scorer," Taylor said. "I don't think they would bring me in to do something else besides (being) a scorer.

"I have a scorer's mentality," he said, sticking to the theme. "I have a knack for putting the ball in the hoop. I know how to do that. That's what I'm good at. That's what I've been doing all my life. I'm not expecting it to change right now. I'm going to keep on doing what I do best."

Budinger displayed similar confidence in his offensive talents.

"I feel my all-around game can really help this team," Budinger said. "I'm a smart player. I can shoot the ball well, pass. I'm a playmaker for others. But first and foremost, I can knock down jumpers. When teams double-team Yao (Ming) or Aaron Brooks attacks the basket, I can be their spot-up jumper for 3-pointers."

Morey said both would have to grow defensively to get on the court. He even acknowledged that second-round picks are longshots on a team with a full, proven roster. But he had already said something that spoke louder. After spending much of the night trying to get into the first round, he spent $6 million in the second round, indicating a great deal about what he thinks of the players he picked there.

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Added: July 10, 2009


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