Rockets 2012 Draft Night

Documenting Houston's draft night from the team's war room
by Jason Friedman Writer/Reporter

HOUSTON - With the 2012 NBA Draft in the books, the Rockets have turned their three first round picks into Jeremy Lamb, Royce White and Terrence Jones.

In many ways, this was a suprising night at Toyota Center as Houston ended up staying put at the Nos. 12, 16 and 18 positions, after days of intense speculation that the club was in the mood to wheel and deal. To be sure, the Rockets came into the night ready to aggressively maneuver but nothing came together, prompting the Rockets to stand pat and take the best players available on their draft board.

With that in mind, let's revisit the draft capsules of each of the three players Houston selected in the first round, in addition to the thoughts of draft expert Jim Clibanoff:

Jeremy Lamb, Soph., Connecticut

Combine measurements: Height: 6' 5.25'', Weight: 179.2, Wingspan: 6' 11'', Standing Reach: 8' 5''

Basic stats: 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.2 spg, .478 FG%, .810 FT%, .336 3-PT%

Synergy stats of note: Offense: Spot-ups: 1.113 points per possession (81st percentile), Transition: 1.28 ppp (81st percentile), Off-screen: 1.112 (78th percentile), Isolations: .747 ppp (50th percentile), Pick-and-roll ball handler: .824 ppp (64th percentile), Cuts: 1.429 points per possession (91st percentile)

Defense: Spot-ups: .819 ppp (68th percentile), Pick-and-roll ball handler: .736 ppp (51st percentile), Isolations: .683 ppp (60th percentile), Off-screens: .596 ppp (84th percentile)

Clib’s take: I was afraid that he might have received overly inflated stock after the fine run he had during UConn’s NCAA tournament run in 2011. But that concern subsided in my head when he went out and led the USA basketball team during the summer in points per game, and then started out this past season very well, too.

He’s definitely a flat out scorer; more a scorer than a pure shooter. He’s got great length. He can put the ball on the floor, though he still needs to sharpen that part of his game to better prepare himself for the pros.

The big thing I want to see with Jeremy Lamb is for him to be a versatile NBA scorer. That means he’s going to need to get to the free throw line more to take advantage of his excellent shooting from the charity stripe. I don’t want to see him degenerate into just a jump shooter. As he gets stronger he should be able to become more of a slasher with more of a physical presence. I think he’s maybe a Marshon Brooks kind of player as far as length and ability to score that will translate.

Royce White, So., Iowa State

Combine measurements: Height: 6' 8'', Weight: 260.6, Wingspan: 7' 0'', Standing Reach: 8' 8.5''

Basic stats: 13.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.2 spg, .534 FG%, .498 FT%, .333 3-PT%

Synergy stats of note: Offense: Isolation: .699 ppp (43rd percentile), Post-ups: .829 ppp (56th percentile), Cuts: 1.207 points per possession (64th percentile), Transition: 1.059 ppp (51st percentile)

Defense: Post-ups: .75 ppp (60th percentile),  Spot-ups: .857 ppp (61st percentile), Isolations: .586 ppp (75th percentile)

Clib’s take: I actually have him as a power forward. He’s probably the most unique player in this draft. His ability to fill up the stat sheet and essentially play as a point guard or a point power forward –- you just don’t really see that profile anywhere.

His basketball IQ is just so high. If a coach can look outside the traditional box, you can really find quite an asset with White. I think a guy like Don Nelson when he was in the height of his very progressive, forward thinking use of players would really have had a field day with a guy like Royce White.

He’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea –- he’s a little bit undersized for the four spot –- but where he might have a disadvantage because of his lack of size, he’s going to be a major mismatch for other players, too. You can put him out on the perimeter against a big where he can pass and put the ball on the floor. If you put a three man on him he’s going to abuse him; he can work down low where he can take advantage of his strength and huge hands.

I’ve even heard someone suggest to me where you could use him like a Chuck Hayes, a really undersized post player who can hold his own because he’s such a big, strong dude and because he has such a unique skill set.

Terrence Jones, Soph., Kentucky

Combine measurements: Height: 6' 9.5'', Weight: 252.0, Wingspan: 7' 2.25'', Standing Reach: 8' 9.5''

Basic stats: 12.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg, .500 FG%, .627 FT%, .327 3-PT%

Synergy stats of note: Offense: Transition: 1.178 ppp (69th percentile), Post-ups: .924 points per possession (74th percentile), Cuts: 1.088 points per possession (43rd percentile), Spot-ups: 1.016 ppp (69th percentile), Isolations: .917 ppp (78th percentile)

Defense: Spot-ups: .722 ppp (81st percentile), Post-ups: .67 ppp (73rd percentile), Isolations: .5 ppp (86th percentile)

Clib’s take: A guy who might not be an NBA star, but his ability to fit in with other talent around him at Kentucky helped him quite a bit and should portend positive things for his NBA career. I compare him a little bit to a guy like Al Harrington who is a four-man who likes to face-up and shoot. People wanted him to be a three and we used to list Terrence Jones as a three, but the bottom line is he’s a versatile power forward who can do a little bit of a lot of stuff. I think the composition of the team he goes to is going to be critical in the development of his pro identity. I could see him being used as an offensive weapon in certain situations or more a rugged, physical four in others. I can see his future going a lot of different ways.


Lastly, Rockets Director of Scouting Arturas Karnisovas met with the media just moments ago, to discuss Houston's first round crop. What follows is a transcipt of his conversation with the assembled media members at Toyota Center: 

AK: Jeremy Lamb who we selected first is a very talented shooting guard from UConn. He can score and is very athletic. We were very happy to select him with our 12th pick.

Then we selected Royce White from Iowa State who is a very talented combo forward who can create. He was a creator for Iowa State, is an elite passer and very explosive to the basket. We loved the way he ran the floor and created for others.

Then with our third selection we selected Terrence Jones from Kentucky, who is another talented combo forward who can score. He developed his inside game and feels comfortable facing up to the basket. Great defender, and as we saw he was part of Kentucky’s championship team this year.

We are confident that we’re going to run. We’re going to play fast and we’ve got lots of skilled young players, so we’re expecting to play exciting basketball and we’ll have time now to work on the synergy of the team.

Are you expecting to hold on to all three guys?

AK: Yes. We’re very excited now. We have a little bit to go in the draft, so far we’re keeping them all and we’re very excited to have them.

We were confident we were getting our guy on the board. We did our diligent work all year long and we feel confident those were the best guys at those picks.

What do you say to fans who were expecting more?

AK: We tried. As always, we as a group tried, but again, we had three picks that we very carefully selected those players and we think those were the best selections for those picks and we’re excited to have them.

How do you feel about Lamb’s NBA readiness?

AK: We thought he got lots of experience from his freshman year as they went on to winning the NCAA championship. (Then), learning the hard way by not having such a successful year this year. We thought that his development was very good and we actually had him in a couple days ago for a visit and we feel comfortable with him.

Can you contrast the skill sets of White and Jones with Marcus Morris and Patrick Patterson?

AK: It’s difficult to say right now. I think, again, we’re going to try to play fast and run, and these players demonstrated this year for their teams that they are playmakers and huge parts of their team. Royce White was a playmaker for his team; he was rebounding, he was scoring, he was passing. Terrence has bee on one of the greatest Kentucky teams in the past decade. So we feel comfortable to have all those guys on our team.

Can you talk more about White?

AK: Well we felt he was a great value at that pick. What he has done this year, such a talented player, it was too hard to pass up.

How has he done with his anxiety disorder?

AK: We’ve done lots of background work and we felt comfortable with the information that we had and selecting him with the 16th pick. Again, his game speaks for itself. He’s shown against strong competition that he can compete.