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2012 NBA Draft Grades: Jeremy Lamb to Houston Rockets at No. 12

Houston Rockets | Last Season: 34-20 | Draft Picks: 12, 16, 18

Season Summary: The Rockets fell two games short of the playoffs during the 2011-12 season and this is beginning to become a frustrating trend considering this marks their third-straight year with a winning record without a playoff appearance.

Draft Needs: The recent trade of Chase Budinger to the Minnesota Timberwolves makes it seem like Houston will be going for a big man in the first round—especially with two picks. A small forward that could make an immediate impact playing alongside Luis Scola may be just what this team needs.

#12 Pick: Jeremy Lamb | SG | Connecticut 

Lamb won a National Championship with UConn his freshman year with Kemba Walker running the show. Lamb’s sophomore year wasn’t as memorable for the Huskies, but from an individual perspective Lamb had a great season.  He was a first-team All-Big East selection, and led UConn in scoring as he became only the 6th sophomore in school history to reach 1,000 points.  That’s pretty good company considering the other five are Ray Allen, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Khalid El-Amin and Ben Gordon. He’s a long 6’5”with a smooth touch around the rim.  His 7-foot wingspan helps him on the defensive end and on the glass.

Grade: B

2012-2013 Outlook: With the pace this team has been going over the last three years, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Rockets finally got over the hump next season and reached the playoffs as a lower seed. This team may be lacking a big superstar name, but there are plenty of talented low-key players that could certainly help this team reach the playoffs.

Check out all of Rant Sports 2012 NBA Draft Grades from the 1st Round.