While much of the talk has been centered around Rockets first round draft pick Aaron Brooks and the fans' shock of the team taking a short point guard, not much has been talked about concerning the Rockets acquisition of Purdue forward Carl Landry at pick #31.
Landry was named to the All-Big Ten team named by the coaches and led the Boilermakers in scoring (18.9 points) and rebounding (7.3 rebounds) last season as a senior, which was a bounceback year from a serious ACL injury that saw him miss almost all of the 2006 season.
|Houston Rockets draft pick Carl Landry meets with the Houston media on Friday
What is also exciting about Landry is his mid-range offensive game.
"When you're looking at a group of players, many of whom are very similar, you have to look for that thing that separates them," said former Rockets lead scout Joe Ash, now with the Pacers, before the draft. "What separates him is that he has that perimeter game."
The big question mark is his height. Landy is listed anywhere from 6-foot-7 to 6-foot-9, the latter being what his agent is claiming that his client measured out to be at the NBA pre-draft camp.
However, Clutchfans has learned that the Rockets measurements of Landry have him at 6-8 1/2 inches in shoes. That isn't a number from pre-draft camp but rather the Rockets organization's actual physical measurements of Landry. Brooks, for example, came in at 5-11 3/4 inches with shoes on.
However what really impressed the Rockets about Landry was his "extremely wide frame and great strength", said a league source. Landry drew raves for his strength in both his upper and lower body. He ranked as the 5th best athlete of all draft prospects at the NBA pre-draft camp and was the highest-rated among power forwards.
Still, the decision between Landry and Glen "Big Baby" Davis was not an easy one for the Rockets at #31. Despite passing on the Baby twice, Davis was in fact up there on their board. However, Houston did have Landry ranked higher (which goes without saying) but "it was close".
The team also had strong intel that Phoenix was going to take Brooks with the 29th pick and Landry was going to go with the very next pick by Boston at #32. Alando Tucker and Gabe Pruitt instead went to the Suns and Celtics respectively at those positions.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Landry's hometown team, have a nice, but relatively short, video on their website from a Landry workout with them earlier this month. You can get a good look at his size and the form on his jumpshot, which has drawn praise.
I've said this before but I'm stressing it a little more now -- I questioned this pick on draft night given that Davis was available, and time will tell on how that decision plays out, but with each passing day I'm more and more on the Landry bandwagon. The pick cost the Rockets little to nothing and they may have gotten a real future contributor here with this selection.