Times, they are a changing and this team has finally embraced it. The team has shed itself of Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Luis Scola, Samuel Dalembert notably. Kevin Martin is still on the roster and opinions on him vary all over the place. Fortunately for us, this isn’t about him today! Our shooting guard of the future was drafted this year.
Before the draft kicked off this year your own beloved writers picked Jeremy Lamb to the Rockets with our first available pick. Given all the fluctuations in NBA mock drafts leading up to the actual draft Jeremy was predicted anywhere from 10 to 14. Fortunately for us, he fell into our waiting arms at pick number 12. When the selection was made I know I was expecting a Kevin Martin move and, until Dwight Howard was handed over to LA (Because the Collective Bargaining Agreement is totally effective) that’s the situation we were looking at. We all know how that ended up and now, Houston sits with a tandem of guards on their roster who are expected to score like there is no tomorrow.
Kevin has the track record of NBA scoring outside of last year’s roller coaster performance. Jeremy dominated the summer league showing a variety of fluid offensive moves and the ability to abuse his defender. I, for one, have never been so excited to watch NBA Summer League. I was captivated watching Jeremy weave in and out of defenders, get his man off kilter with his first step, and to see his feel for the game. Watching Lamb you get a sincere feeling that he just steps on the court and knows how it’s going to be. He was in control of his body, used his length to create separation from his defenders, in many instances showed some great athleticism and aggression, and picked his spots to score at will. His perimeter shooting was quick, crisp, and even when off-balance, completely fluid. The knock on Jeremy coming into the NBA was that at times he looks disconnected with his game and even uninterested at times. What the tape reveals is a kid so natural on the floor with ice in his veins and in command of what needs to happen. To me, that's not a lack of passion, that's a lack of mercy. The mechanics of his game are fantastic and that’s what I was watching for. Numbers can be deceiving, the nuts and bolts as to how you got those numbers is the critical point.
Granted, we can never vest too much faith in summer league but, at the end of the day, if you didn’t come away impressed with what you saw, not many things will impress you at all. He’s not going to set the world on fire with his defense but with his length and Kevin McHale at the helm of this team, I’m not ready to write him off either. . Make no mistake about it, he’s a rookie in the NBA and he’s going to give up points and at time struggle to score, but judgment on Lamb needs to be slow. I’m excited that the drafting of Lamb may have set the Rockets up at shooting guard for a while.
To borrow a theme from Tom’s article about Kevin Martin regarding billboards and praise for the rookies before they ever step on the floor, Jeremy Lamb, Donatas, Royce, Terrence, Jeremy Lin, and Omer all represent the reasons to forget about the veterans on the roster. The veterans are linked to three years of futility, of one-dimensional play, of the tragic loss of Yao Ming, and a past we needed to move on from. This group of youngsters and new faces in Houston represent that there is hope, there is life after love, and most importantly, Houston may very well have finally found a future.
Jeremy Lamb usurps Kevin Martin for the starting position in a month and a half to two months (or Kevin Martin is traded, whichever comes first). Martin was benched last year for failure to contribute beyond scoring and I don’t see Lamb coming into the NBA with any entitlement issues about his scoring that would preclude him from putting his nose to the grindstone to play some defense. Lamb’s end of the year stats show up as 16 PPG/4 RPG/3 APG. I’m aiming low on rebounds and assists.