Posted: Monday June 26, 2006 2:11PM; Updated: Tuesday June 27, 2006 3:50PM
This team has more holes than a No. 8 draft pick can fill. The squad probably has more holes than the first, eighth and 24th picks combined could fill, but that doesn't stop us from appreciating the direction Houston could be headed following this week's draft.
The Rockets will no doubt find a rotation contributor on Wednesday, maybe even a starter, and look toward making sense of a roster that lost its way last season. Whether they go with a banger (Simmons?), a shooter (J.J. Redick?), a slasher (Ronnie Brewer?) -- or watch as a top five stud such as Rudy Gay, Adam Morrison, Aldridge or Bargnani falls down to them -- Houston should be happy with its evening. This group has one year to get things right before assistant general manager Daryl Morey takes over for good.
Last season's 34-win campaign made it look as if the game had passed Jeff Van Gundy. And though he's rallied his beleaguered troops, JVG has this upcoming campaign to prove that he can adapt enough to win while remaining true to his minimalist roots. Don't think Van Gundy didn't noticed that his former mentor pulled off another championship in Miami, featuring a two-pronged attack with a familiar refrain: a sometimes-dominant beast in the low post alongside a dynamic perimeter scorer.
New York Knicks
The Knicks have long been the go-to bon mot for NBA observers, and it doesn't figure to end this week. Even with the impending draft, the soap opera surrounding Larry Brown's 40-day execution march and the impending legal battle over the $40 million left on his contract will remain the most intriguing story for East Coast hoop heads. The pain will sustain through the first part of Wednesday's draft, when the on-air talent will no doubt harp on the fact that Chicago's second overall pick was originally New York's, that the Knicks bid against themselves to offer said pick and $10 million a year for Curry's services, and (just in case you didn't hear it the first 142 times) Chicago has the right to swap first-round picks in '07.