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Houston Rockets 2014 Draft Preview

Draft picks: 1st round (25th overall), 2nd round (42nd overall)

By Jim Brighters, NBA Editor

( - The Houston Rockets under-achieved a bit, despite sharing the fifth-best record in the NBA this past season.

The Portland Trail Blazers knocked them out of the playoffs in six games, despite the fact that the Rockets had home-court advantage.

Houston had title dreams, fairly or unfairly. When Dwight Howard put his name on the dotted line last summer, the Rockets believed themselves to be instant contenders.

It took them some time to jell, but Houston had no problem scoring with Howard and James Harden, who enjoyed another monstrous season. Chandler Parsons admirably handled the small-forward duties and the two-man combination of Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley balance each other out nicely.

That power-forward spot was something of a problem.

With Howard dominating the interior, and especially the glass, Houston head coach Kevin McHale was searching for a "stretch-four," or, a power forward with shooting range.

At 25th in this draft, the Rockets might target someone like Cleanthony Early of Wichita State. He's a solid rebounder, tough player and his range is pretty close to the 3-point arc.

Maybe a foreigner like Kristaps Porzingis, or Clint Capela makes sense.

Wing depth, and depth in general would serve the Rockets well.

Players under contract: C Dwight Howard; G James Harden; G Jeremy Lin; C Omer Asik; F Terrence Jones; F Donatas Motiejunas; F Omri Casspi; F Chandler Parsons; G Patrick Beverley; G Isaiah Canaan

Free agents: F Greg Smith; F Jordan Hamilton; G/F Francisco Garcia (player option)

Recent Draft History 2013: Isaiah Canaan (34)

2012: Jeremy Lamb (12), Royce White (16), Terrence Jones (18)

2011: Marcus Morris (14), Nikola Mirotic (23), Chandler Parsons (38)

2010: Patrick Patterson (14)

2009: None

06/18 13:46:31 ET