NBA Mock Draft Roundup: Rockets Seeing Carolina Blue

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 09: P.J. Hairston #15, John Henson #31, Reggie Bullock #35, Tyler Zeller #44 and Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels prepare to play against the Maryland Terrapins during the Quarterfinals of the 2012 ACC Men's Basketball Conferene Tournament at Philips Arena on March 9, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

You've heard the news: We're doing an NBA mock draft within our group of writers. We'll announce one pick per day leading up to the draft, and we expect you to read, rec and comment on every single post. Heh.

Now, as for what everyone else thinks about Houston's draft night approach, here's a roundup of mock drafts that dropped shortly after the lottery order was decided last night. Hint: If you're a UNC fan, you'll like what you (n) see.

ESPN - Chad Ford

14. Tyler Zeller

The Rockets' biggest need is in the middle and Zeller should be a solid option. Scouts don't think Zeller is going to be an All-Star someday, but he's big, he runs the floor very well and he has a great touch around the basket. Zeller should ultimately land somewhere between Picks 8 and 14.

16. Terrence Jones

Jones is a bit of an enigma. He could go as high as No. 7 or he could slide to here. No one doubts his talent; they're just not sure which position he would play in the pros and whether he'll be willing to put in the work to be great. At this point in the draft, though, he's worth the risk.

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Y! Sports/DraftExpress - Jonathan Givony

14. Tyler Zeller

After narrowly missing the playoffs for the third straight season, it's difficult to say the Rockets will be able to address all their problems with two mid-first-round picks. Assuming the Kyle Lowry/Goran Dragic situation works itself out, the Rockets are seemingly stacked at most every position besides center, which could make North Carolina's Zeller a solid option right here.

16. Terrence Ross

This pick is widely assumed to be in play, as the Rockets don't have any real need for more rookies on their roster, as they already have solid depth at most every position. Ross is talented enough to be drafted much earlier than this, as his combination of prototypical size, athleticism and perimeter shooting makes him easy to plug in on most teams' rotations.

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CBS Sports - Jeff Goodman

14. John Henson

The Rockets need a rim protector and that's what Henson can provide. He's not ready to impact the NBA game yet on the offensive end, but he's long and alters shots.

16. Kendall Marshall

It looks like Kyle Lowry's days are over in Houston. Kevin McHale needs a point guard. No one is better than setting up their teammates than Marshall.

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CBS Sports - Matt Moore

14. Meyers Leonard

Big. Any big will do. Leonard's the biggest big available in this range. This'll do. The Rockets, constantly getting a little better, never making great strides.

16. Terrence Ross

Athletic wing? Don't mind if Morey does! This gives him some room to dangle players he has in trades. Ross could be another steal for the Rockets.

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SB Nation - Tom Ziller

14. Meyers Leonard

I remain convinced that a man named Meyers Leonard must be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. Since Indiana isn't in the lottery...

* * *

Sports Illustrated - Sam Amick

14. Jeremy Lamb

Rockets shooting guard and leading scorer Kevin Martin has one more year left on his deal, and the fact that he was all but traded to New Orleans in December could have an effect on whether he wants to return (if he's not traded, officially, by then). Martin, who was part of the deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers and Pau Gasol to the Rockets, might have competition if Houston grabs one of the many top-tier shooting guards remaining. (Reserve shooting guard Courtney Lee, by the way, will be a restricted free agent.) Lamb could wind up being a top 10 pick, but the smooth scorer would be phenomenal value here.

16. John Henson

There's a bit of a logjam here, as the Rockets have a high-level power forward in Luis Scola and power forward Patrick Patterson showed some progress in his second season. But defensive difference makers are tough to come by, and Henson, who averaged 9.9 rebounds and 2.9 blocks last season, would be a great get in this post. Shot-blocking Rockets center Marcus Camby will be a free agent this summer, and fellow big man Samuel Dalembert is owed $6.7 million for next season but can be bought out for $1.5 million.

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Sporting News - Sean Deveny

14. Meyers Leonard

A young, raw, long big man who needs a lot of work. Stop us if you've heard this before. Though he is a project, he is, at least, a tall project, probably one of only two 7-footers (with Fab Melo) in the first round.

16. Terrence Jones

Jones probably didn't improve his draft stock all that much by returning to Kentucky for his sophomore year, though it doesn't hurt to have the shine of a national championship. There are attitude questions about Jones, but he excelled in the NCAA Tournament and has the size and athleticism to be a successful NBA small forward.

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USA Today - Steve Kyler

14. Jeremy Lamb

Explosive athlete with a crazy wingspan. Has great range out to the three-point line. Wiry frame with an explosive first step.

16. John Henson

Extremely long. Amazing and effective shot blocker. Disruptive defensively. Improved offensive skill set.

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NBADraft.net

14. Austin Rivers

16. Meyers Leonard

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Tom's Favorite Mock: NBADraft.net's idea of Houston taking Austin Rivers and Meyers Leonard looks like a good "Swing For The Fences" coup. Otherwise, I like Amick/Kyler's combo of Lamb and Henson.

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