Wednesday , Jun , 20 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Houston Rockets 2007 Draft Preview

(Sports Network) – Rick Adelman will be calling the shots from the Houston
bench during the 2007-08 campaign. Adelman replaced former head coach Jeff Van
Gundy, whose four-year tenure came to an end after the Rockets were eliminate
by the Utah Jazz in seven games in the first round of the playoffs.

Adelman takes over a team with two perennial All-Stars in Tracy McGrady and
Yao Ming. The Rockets, who were 52-30 during the 2006-07 regular season, are
scheduled to pick 26th in this year’s draft and could use some help at power
forward or point guard.

Yao missed 32 games this past season with a non-displaced fracture in a bone
under his right knee. Without Yao, who led the team in scoring (25.0 ppg)
and rebounding (9.4 rpg), the Rockets were a surprising 20-12.

McGrady finished his third and arguably his finest season with the Rockets.
The All-Star guard, who averaged 24.6 points, 5.3 boards and a team-best 6.4
assists per game, put the team on his back when Yao was out. He made his
teammates better and hit clutch shots to help his squad stay in the thick of
the playoff race in the West.

Guards Rafer Alston and Luther Head gave Houston solid shooting from the
perimeter, while forward Shane Battier, who finished his first season with
the Rockets, provided excellent defense and also contributed on the offensive
end.

Houston did acquire guard Mike James, who played 27 games for the Rockets
during the 2004-05 campaign, from Minnesota for veteran forward Juwan Howard.
James averaged 10.1 points and 3.6 assists in 81 games for the Timberwolves
during the 2006-06 campaign.

The Rockets have talent, but they have not been able to put it all together.
They have not won a playoff series since 1997. Houston’s last postseason
series victory was when it defeated Seattle, 4-3, in the 1997 West semis.

The 26th pick could get them some immediate help. Possible candidates are
Rodney Stuckey of Eastern Washington, Duke’s Josh McRoberts, Colorado State’s
Jason Smith and Sean Williams of Boston College.

Key Player(s): Rafer Alston (Guard), Shane Battier (Forward), Luther Head
(Guard), Chuck Hayes (Forward), Mike James (Guard), Tracy McGrady (Guard),
Dikembe Mutombo (Center), Bonzi Wells (Forward/Guard), Yao Ming (Center).

Team Needs: Strong, rebounding power forward, outside shooter and point guard,

Draft picks: 1st round (26th overall).

HOU