News » While not putting too much stock in the Pro League, the Rockets do size up the talent pool Those summertime clues

While not putting too much stock in the Pro League, the Rockets do size up the talent pool Those summertime clues

While not putting too much stock in the Pro League, the Rockets do size up the talent pool Those summertime clues
Logically, and as a matter of fairness, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey would rather not be too influenced by summer-league performances.

Morey reminds himself that just a few years ago Carl Landry was a dud in summer league and a relative sensation as a rookie. Five games, played with and against other rookies and prospects, cannot reveal nearly as much as a month of training camp and preseason games against NBA veterans.

Reality, however, intervenes. They play. Morey - along with front-office types from around the NBA and the world - watch. It is impossible not to draw conclusions, or at least have opinions.

"You certainly are influenced by it," Morey admitted before the Rockets headed to today's start of the Las Vegas Summer Pro League with more than the usual opportunities available to a few of their players, "though we try to realize it's just five games and you shouldn't be that influenced by it. But it certainly impacts your thinking.

"We always hope the players we have rights to play well, that's No. 1, or we discover some players who can help us on the Rockets . It's pretty hard to determine in five games."

Dorsey's chance to shine

The Rockets' summer-league team can be considered in four parts: the veterans of last season's roster, Joey Dorsey and James White; this season's second-round acquisitions, Jermaine Taylor and Chase Budinger; former second-round pick-ups, Maarty Leunen and Brad Newley; and everyone else.

With a gaping hole at center, the Rockets would like to see evidence of improvement from Dorsey since last season when he was not considered ready to help. With Tracy McGrady almost certainly out early next season and Von Wafer likely not back, there could be an opportunity to make the team for White.

Taylor and Budinger, who will play without contracts and might have to make the roster in training camp, also could find themselves in the unusual position of being second-round picks with a chance to demonstrate they can contribute as rookies.

Ready for roster spots?

Though Leunen and Newley are not considered likely to find their way onto next season's roster, both figure enough in the Rockets' long-term plans.

"We like their future," Morey said. "They've been on the development path we put them on and keep jumping over their hurdles.

"We have high hopes for (Taylor and Budinger). They have to probably show us something now or in training camp to make us confident. I'm hoping they become roster players."

There is more of an emphasis on developing Dorsey and White into players who can compete in the fall.

With Budinger and Taylor, it is impossible not to evaluate. Each will likely get the most significant playing time, though Taylor could miss this afternoon's opener with a pulled right hamstring.

Gaining experience

"The No. 1 thing is to get the guys that are on our roster better, to get Joey Dorsey and James White experience," Rockets summer-league coach Elston Turner said. "These summer leagues are primarily for those guys. The previous two (years) were for Aaron (Brooks) and Carl to get more experience. You want to play them extended minutes. You want to put them in a position to succeed, go at them, use them, get them as much experience as you can that way. ...

"The way we'll try to play, it will show if our draft picks have talent in pushing and creating. We're not going to put clamps on anybody."

Turner has already been pleased with the rookies' competitiveness, "Basketball IQ" and praised Budinger's shot, Taylor's penetration and Dorsey's rebounding. He quickly added, however, it is much too soon to draw conclusions.

That will come in the next week, whether they try to resist the urge or not.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 11, 2009


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