March 26, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale shouts to his players in the third quarter against the Sacramento Kings at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Note: Meant to publish this tomorrow, but I screwed up. So here 'tis, people.
The draft order has been established. Your devoted writers here at the Dream Shake have set up a mock draft, pick by pick, to be delivered to you daily. We will be going through the first round of the draft with our selections and our reasons why we think we will correctly predict the whole damn thing.
1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
3. Washington Wizards: Andre Drummond
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes
5. Sacramento Kings: Thomas Robinson
6. Portland Trail Blazers: Bradley Beal
7. Golden State Warriors: Terrence Jones
8. Toronto Raptors: Perry Jones III
9. Detroit Pistons: John Henson
10. New Orleans Hornets: Damian Lillard
11. Portland Trail Blazers: Jared Sullinger
12. Milwaukee Bucks: Meyers Leonard
13. Phoenix Suns: Dion Waiters
Let's get one thing straight: There's a darn good chance that the Houston Rockets will not be picking at either of their two slots, 14 and 16. They could move one or both picks to try to make something crazy happen, but there's just no way Daryl Morey is going to throw two more rookies at this roster, especially with Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Morris projected to see time next season.
I honestly couldn't tell you what I think the Rockets will do if they try to trade out of their picks. We haven't seen Morey successfully move into the top ten, and there is not a big drop-off from the prospects in the 8-10 range to those who could be available with the 14th pick. So it's either boom or bust. Either Morey makes a big splash or he gets out altogether and trades down or out.
Trust me, if the latter unfolds and Morey decides he can't gain anything by sticking at 14 and 16 and trades out, you all will have a right to be pissed off. We can't blame Morey for trying to compete through the smart, subtle moves he has made, but those moves haven't gotten Houston anywhere. The Rockets are right where they were three years ago, except the free agent market is significantly thinner and the mediocrity is starting to grow old. Morey might be in an unfair position, but it doesn't change the fact that, well, he is still in that position. Suddenly, this is the summer where something needs to happen. Something big. It could be the acquisition of a star player or a fire sale. Either would please this fanbase, I think. Either would be a smart move to get the Rockets out of the realm of meh.
So, anyway, about this pick. Assuming Houston sticks at 14 (which is still plausible — they may like the player who falls to them at 14, opening up a trade possibility at 16) and given the players available, I think this is a fairly obvious pick. Let's get to that.
With the fourteenth pick in The Dream Shake 2012 Mock Draft, the Houston Rockets select Jeremy Lamb, shooting guard from UConn.
The Rockets need some playmaking on the outside. They need someone besides Goran Dragic who can attack from the perimeter. Lamb is the best player on the board and he fits exactly what Houston needs. He also provides some Kevin Martin/Courtney Lee insurance and has a good chance to develop into something much more integral to the franchise.
I like Lamb because he's long, athletic, can shoot the ball and can get his own shot better than many prospects in this draft. He could eventually become a plus defender, too. There's a lot to like on the surface — what he'll need to do is prove himself mentally. Does he have that killer instinct? Is he really going to take his game to another level, or will he settle with what he's already capable of doing?
I also considered Tyler Zeller here, but Houston already has options at center and needs to go with a prospect with higher upside. That doesn't mean I don't like Zeller, I just don't think he fits what Houston's agenda should be. So that's my pick.
The Philadelphia 76ers are on the clock.