The Houston Rockets 2017-18 season was the best year for the franchise since their mid-90s back-to-back championship run. With the best record in the NBA at 65-17, the Rockets were one win away from their first trip to the NBA Finals since 1995.
Entering the offseason, general manager Daryl Morley had his work cut out for him. It can be argued that the roster he put together was the best team in the league last season. Houston seemed to build its chemistry throughout the year and held the longest winning streak in the league winning 17 consecutive games.
Obviously re-signing Chris Paul was the number one goal this summer. However, it was equally important to come to terms on an agreement with center Clint Capela. With Paul being the only point guard on the roster, Morley was also tasked with finding a suitable back-up.
It was a busy July for Rockets executives trying to re-establish a roster that nearly toppled the Golden State Warriors. Let’s take a look and grade each move Houston made this offseason.
7. Selecting De’Anthony Melton in the NBA Draft
The Rockets entered the 2018 NBA Draft with only one second-round pick. The impending free agency of Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green made it necessary to go after a wing player. So it was understandable when they selected shooting guard De’Anthony Melton with the 46th overall pick.
Melton was a key contributor his freshmen year at USC, playing 27 minutes per game on a team that made the NCAA tournament. However, he was forced to sit out his sophomore season due to his alleged connection in a college basketball bribery scandal.
Offensively, he leaves a lot to be desired. His averages of 8.3 points and 3.5 assists per game at USC were pedestrian, and he struggles shooting the ball. In his NBA Summer League debut in July, he made only three of 15 shots.
However, Melton does have the potential to become a viable defender in the league. His length and athleticism allow him to effectively defender the perimeter, and he averaged 1.9 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in college. He also impressed Rockets assistant coach Brett Gunning with his defensive prowess in Summer League.
Though his defense is good, it’s doubtful that Melton sees playing time this season. Houston plays at a fast pace, and he struggled to get back up the floor in fast breaks in Summer League. It’s likely he spends time this season in the G League.
Next Up: Move 6