Houston Rockets' 2012-2013 Season Will Go as Far as Rookies Take Them

By Jeff Shull

If you’re a fan of the Houston Rockets, you should be very excited for the future of this franchise. Despite not having a legitimate super star and not being a championship contender for the near future, the one thing this franchise has is depth and a bevy of talented rookies that should make this a very exciting team to watch.

Not only that, but they have a ton of potential trade pieces. Knowing GM Daryl Morey, he’s exploring all options and still plans on bringing a super star to Houston.

Plus, there’s Linsanity.

But this season will not be defined by Jeremy Lin or any other veteran. The Rockets will go as far as their young guys can take them. The projected starting five is Lin, Kevin Martin, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson and Omer Asik. Obviously no rookies there, but the second unit could consist of as many as four first-year players.

The Rockets grabbed Royce White, Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lamb in the first round of the 2012 NBA draft, and still have European stud Donatas Motiejunas left over from the 2011 draft.

Morey is obviously doing his best to bring a super star to this town, but he could have one waiting in the wings with Motiejunas. The 7’0” Lithuanian dominated the summer league and has all the tools to be the next great European big man. He’s been pegged as the next Arvydas Sabonis, only Motiejunas has a certain swagger about him that lends me to believe he could be even better.

After a summer league game this year, Motiejunas showed off the confidence in himself you want from a potential star.

“If you’re scared of wolves, don’t go in the woods. It’s just basketball, it’s nothing new. This is how I have to play. This is the thing: either they will kick my (butt) or I will kick their (butt). That’s every game and every competition. If you’re scared to be here, then sit on the bench.”

He’s got a silky smooth jump shot, can use both hands on the block and runs the floor as good as any big man. Right now I’m not sure Motiejunas will start the season in the first unit, but I have no doubts he will be there by season’s end. The Rockets used the amnesty clause on Luis Scola knowing full well they had the personnel to replace him. Motiejunas is that guy and then some.

I believe White has the most potential of the rookies from this year’s draft class. He’s a very versatile forward in that he can bang in the block and scrap for rebounds, but he’s also a solid defender and underrated passer. The media is making much of this anxiety issue White struggles with, but he assures the Rockets it will not affect him. Right now there is no reason not to believe him; he did not miss a game at Iowa State from it.

Lamb and Jones round out a very solid group of youngsters. Honestly it would have been exciting if the Rockets pulled off that trade for Dwight Howard, but it could end up being a blessing in disguise as it would have completely gutted their roster.

Don’t be surprised to find Motiejunas or any of the other Rockets rookies dominating the headlines this year. Motiejunas could be the next Dirk Nowitski, all he needs is an opportunity. He’ll get it this season.

Jeff is an NFL Featured Columnist for RantSports.com. Like Jeff’s Facebook Page here. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Shull.

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