Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 6/28/12
After all the speculation about acquiring a superstar caliber player like Dwight Howard, the Rockets finished the first round of the NBA draft Thursday night with three rookies and no Howard. Whether they actually open the season with the three first rounders they selected is questionable but, for the time being, Jeremy Lamb (12), Royce White (16) and Terrence Jones (18) are members of the Rockets. "There were a lot of things in the hopper. I can tell you that," said coach Kevin McHale. "Ideally it would have been nice to pull off a trade that would have helped the team immediately. But when those fell through we took the players that we felt were best there. There were a few trades that I was excited that we might be able to do. When they fell through, you move on and we drafted and I thought we had a really good night." McHale said he expects the three rookies selected Thursday night to remain with the team: "Maybe down the road (a trade) will get resurrected again but as of right now we're going to move forward with the team." The first pick of the round was Connecticut wing player Jeremy Lamb, who may draw comparisons to Kevin Martin as a scorer and shooter. In terms of what the Rockets are getting in Lamb, the 6-5 guard from Georgia said, "Scoring from all over the floor. Behind the arc, mid-range game, getting to the line. On the other end, deflections, being able to get out on the break, rebounding. So, a lot of little different things." As a sophomore at UConn Lamb averaged 17.7 points and shot .478 from the field. The 20 year-old was an AP Honorable Mention All-American as well as All-Big East First team. The Rockets then took Iowa St. forward Royce White, 21, with pick 16. White, 6-8, moves exceptionally well with the ball for a big man and has a versatile offensive game. He averaged more than nine rebounds per game for the Cyclones last season. White does have what he termed "red flags" in his past. In 2009, White pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and theft for a shoplifting incident and a scuffle with a guard at the Mall of America in Minneapolis. "There are a lot of things that could have kept me out of the 16th spot or out of the first round in general," White said. "But (the Rockets) believed in meand I'm just glad they took a chance on me and allowed me to be a part of this league." White has had anxiety issues with flying but Rockets Director of Scouting Arturas Karnisovas sounded as if the Rockets do not consider that a major issue. "We've done lots of background work and we felt comfortable with the information we had," said Karnisovas. The final pick of the first round was 6-9 Kentucky Forward Terrence Jones. Jones actually brings more length than his size suggests due to his long arms. "I'm really convinced he's going to be able to blend in and do what he does," said McHale. he's a really good all-around defensive-minded guy." Jones is a cousin of former NBA player Damon Stoudamire.
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