In Like a Lamb: No Moves, No Trades for the Rockets in 2012 Draft

Categories: Sports

Rockets' first pick, Jeremy Lamb.
Pick two came and went. Then pick five. Then seven and eight and it began to dawn on Rockets fans: For all the talk of trades for Dwight Howard and moving up into the top ten of the draft, Houston, a team mired in mediocrity, would stand pat and roll the dice with picks 12, 16 and 18. In fact, there were far fewer trades on draft night than predicted, so Daryl Morey and company were not alone.

And though their choices offer an intriguing mix of skills, the biggest story of the night was the lack of a big story. Earlier in the week, the team dealt forward Chase Budinger to Minnesota for pick 18 and Samuel Dalembert to Milwaukee for pick 12, fueling speculation that Morey would package picks and players -- including disgruntled point guard Kyle Lowry -- to get as many as two picks in the top ten, perhaps as high as number two. All indications are they tried to do just that as they have on several different draft nights in the last few years, but failed and were left to stay where they were.

Having three picks in the first round hasn't exactly boded well for the crew at Toyota Center. In 2001, the team traded their three picks, which included talented forward Richard Jefferson for Eddie Griffin, who never developed and, tragically, was killed in 2007. Prior to that, the Rockets' 1998 draft included Michael Dickerson -- he would later be traded in the Steve Francis deal -- Bryce Drew and Mirsad Türkcan, who never played for the team.

Twitter and message boards were inundated with dismayed fans who believe there is no way the Rockets can keep all three players they drafted given the number of players on the roster already -- they got three in the Dalembert trade. But, for now, team officials are insisting they expect all three picks to be in camp along with Donatas Montejunas, the talented European big man they took in the 2011 draft, even though Coach Kevin McHale said he was disappointed a couple of trades for veterans fell through.

Here's the rundown on Thursday night's picks.

12. Jeremy Lamb, SG, UConn -- 6'5" 179lbs
Lamb is a slick scoring guard some have compared to Reggie Miller, though that would likely be on the very high side of his potential. A better comparison would be to a guy currently on the team's roster, Kevin Martin. An explosive athlete with great range on his shot, Lamb should have little problem scoring at the next level. He could be particularly effective coming off screens with a serious midrange game. He's barely 20 years old, which leaves him a lot of room to grow, and he'll need to do that if he wants to compete on the defensive end of the floor.

He is very slight and needs to put on weight. He also didn't go the line much in college because he isn't really a dribble penetrator. He won't be a guy that creates his own shot, but should be a very good offensive weapon in a team concept.

16. Royce White, SF, Iowa State -- 6'8" 261lbs
White may be one of the most unique talents in the draft and one of the most interesting individuals. Though he is generally listed as a small forward, he has the body of an undersized four, but has the game of a guard. Some have referred to him as a point forward because his ball handling and passing skills are outstanding.

He runs the floor and is explosive around the rim -- think Charles Barkley in Philadelphia. He will create some interesting matchup problems on the offensive end of the floor. Where White may struggle is on defense. He likely doesn't have the lateral quickness to guard threes and is undersized at the four. He also has been open about suffering from general anxiety disorder, which, among other things, has left him with a fear of flying. If the Rockets can figure out what to do with him, he could be one of the more interesting acquisitions of the entire draft. Also of note, he's a quote machine and should be a fan and media favorite from day one.

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custard pie
custard pie

no, I'm a native Houstonian, aged 42, who actually has a brain. Although since most ill informed Houstonians, such as yourself, believe only in instant gratification, I can appreciate your ignorance. and your examples of Dallas and SA are absurd. These are two franchises loaded with talent for the past decade, and who have not suffered the loss of two superstars. where would you put Dallas if they lost the likes of Dirk and/or Kidd and/or Terry to injury? How about a permanently injured / retired Duncan or Parker or Manu? And did you fail to recall that SA was smart enough to give us Scola for nothing?

custard pie
custard pie

I'm also in wait-and-see mode with McHale, until he has a full camp and season under his belt. he showed flashes, both good and bad. Of course, I still wish we had JVG.

Julian Bajsel
Julian Bajsel

I find your analysis well thought out and highly perceptive.  That part where you called custard out for not being a Houstonian was worthy of ESPN.  5 stars, would read again.

Julian Bajsel
Julian Bajsel

Been following the team for quite some time now.  We are lucky to have Da'Rel Maury.  If we fired him, he'd be hired immediately elsewhere.  He almost always makes the right move, and fixes his mistakes quickly when he makes them.  That Ariza experiment was a net positive since it ended up in us getting Courtney Lee.   Frustrated fans calling for his head simply don't understand his methods and refuse to acknowledge the blows suffered by the franchise due to career ending injuries to TWO superstars.  When most teams would tank, the Rockets have rebuilt while staying competitive.  We haven't had a losing season under him yet.   The seeming inability to draw top free agents to Houston has more to do with lack of existing star power on the team and the city not being a huge media market than anything else.  That's why the plan is to trade for a superstar.  All we can really do at this point if we aren't going to tank is sit back and collect assets and prepare a godfather offer until one becomes available.  The only fair criticism I see leveled at him, and it might be too early to tell, is the hiring of McHale, who by many accounts appears to a below average tactical coach.

St Lucchese
St Lucchese

Fans are calling for Moreys head, Rockets suck! custard pie, lets bring back the 2001 rockets roster! We had nobody! Be patient...hahahah lol

St Lucchese
St Lucchese

We need to fire Morey, have been calling for this for a long time. Hes just like the former Astros manager Ed Wade. Be patient?? Dallas has won a championship, San Antonio, great GM. We almost dealt most of our starting line-up for who? Pau Gasol?? custard pie, sounds like your a relative of Darly Morey. You are not a houstonian

custard pie
custard pie

all the so-called "fans" need to chillax. the bottom line, is when it comes to trades, it takes two to tango. a deal for Howard - likely a pipe dream – was not going down yesterday with a green, 30-year-old GM two weeks into his first such gig on Orlando. let's see how this pans out. I believe Morey to be the best GM in current Houston pro sports, and he will use this draft and the roster's current components to his advantage. He also works for the city's best owner, who is smart enough not to bow to fan and media outcry. sans the Ariza experiment, from which he recovered, virtually every move made by Morey has been a positive for the franchise. just because people want a blockbuster, doesn't mean it can be forced to happen. remember, the players run the modern day NBA. If you're not Miami, Chicago, LA, Brooklyn, NY, your franchise is not a frontrunner for superstar acquistions at least until the upcoming season starts, have some patience. if nothing happens by opening night tip-off, then we can question Morey's future with more credence. and who knows, if he gets the boot, we'll probably regret it

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