NBA Hoops

Ime Udoka wants more shooting, defensive versatility, shot creation

Ime Udoka wants more shooting, defensive versatility, shot creation

The young and improving Houston Rockets (41-41) have a promising nine-man rotation for the 2024-25 NBA season. Fred VanVleet, Jalen Green, Dillon Brooks, Jabari Smith Jr. and Alperen Sengun will likely again start. Amen Thompson, Cam Whitmore, Tari Eason and Steven Adams should feature off the bench.

Even so, it’s far from a perfect roster. Some of the gaps could be filled through internal improvement, but further roster upgrades, including with the recently acquired No. 3 pick in the 2024 first round, could also help the situation.

Ime Udoka, head coach of the Rockets, spoke Sunday to Kelly Iko of The Athletic from the NBA draft combine in Chicago.

When asked about areas of needed improvement, Udoka said:

We’re trying to have internal growth with our guys we have, first and foremost. But shooting is always at a premium, so you look at that. Versatility across the board with how we defend and want to play. And well-rounded players, we want shot creation as well. Trying to cover all the bases and with that third pick, you can do that with a lot of these players.

Among plausible draft candidates at No. 3, shooting and shot creation could point to guards such as Kentucky’s Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham. Meanwhile, defensive versatility could perhaps point to an established big man, such as Connecticut’s Donovan Clingan.

The first round will take place Wednesday, June 26.

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