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 three picks. A small forward that could make an immediate impact playing alongside Luis Scola may be just what this team needs.
#16 Pick: Royce White | SF | Iowa State
White was one of our potential sleeper picks from this year’s draft. He can stuff the stat sheet better than anyone in the college game. White was the only player in the country to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocks. At Texas A&M this past season, White became just the 4th player in Cyclones’ history to record a triple-double when he racked up 10 points, 18 rebounds, and 10 assists. He was a big reason why Iowa State went dancing for the first time in seven years, and his size and athleticism will translate very well to the NBA.
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.