NBA Draft 2012: 5 Bold Options for Houston Rockets' 2 First-Round Picks

Alec NathanFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2012

NBA Draft 2012: 5 Bold Options for Houston Rockets' 2 First-Round Picks

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    With two picks in the first round of next week's NBA draft, the Houston Rockets find themselves in an enviable position. Holding selections No. 14 and 16, the Rockets should be able to plug some holes at center and shooting guard, providing them with some great depth.

    After missing out on the playoffs by just two games, the Rockets are headed in a positive direction. Led by a solid young corps of recent draft picks, players like Kyle Lowry, Chase Budinger and Chandler Parsons have the Rockets' future looking bright.

    Key pieces like Goran Dragic and Marcus Camby are unrestricted free-agents, and their departures could lead the way to some interesting selections from general manager Daryl Morey.

    Here are five bold options for the Rockets in the first round.

Meyers Leonard

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    One of the draft's fastest risers, Illinois' center Meyers Leonard is looking like a surefire lottery selection. Where he will be selected in the lottery, however, remains a big question.

    Holding the last pick in the lottery (No. 14) the Rockets would be thrilled to see Leonard slip past teams like the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons.

    With Marcus Camby coming off of the books and Samuel Dalembert left as the Rockets' only true center, Leonard could be a nice pick, even if he is a developmental prospect.

    A rare breed, Leonard's style of play is a bit more versatile than the average center. Similar to Sixers' center Spencer Hawes, Leonard is an adept passer who possesses a good mid-range jump shot.

    Although he may not produce immediately, Leonard has the skills necessary to become a long-term solution at center for the Rockets. Paired with Luis Scola, Leonard could lead the way in one of the NBA's more skilled frontcourts.

Jeremy Lamb

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    Although the Houston Rockets have some nice scoring options, they could stand to improve along the perimeter.

    The Rockets have no problem sharing the ball, and the fact that they had five players average double-figures last season is a huge plus. However, the Rockets don't possess one go-to scorer that could really open up the floor for the rest of the team.

    Connecticut guard Jeremy Lamb could be that go-to scorer. With Lamb there is no doubt that the Rockets would be getting an NBA-ready talent capable of scoring at will. Lamb's game is far from perfect, but as far as shooters go in this year's draft, Lamb is up there with the best of them.

    In his sophomore season at UConn, Lamb averaged 17.7 points per game while knocking down just under 48 percent of his shots from the field. Although his style of play is similar to that of Rockets' shooting guard Kevin Martin, Lamb would be tough to pass up if he fell to No. 14 overall.

Arnett Moultrie

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    Although the Rockets appear set at power forward with Luis Scola, Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris, a talent like Arnett Moultrie could be a very nice piece to help sustain the Rockets' frontcourt.

    Standing at 6 foot 11 inches tall, two inches taller than both Morris and Patterson, Moultrie is a crafty big who is capable of playing center in a smaller lineup.

    Moultrie is more agile than most centers, and can play away from the basket when necessary. With a surprisingly consistent jump shot, Moultrie is a flexible big-man, essentially the polar opposite of Samuel Dalembert.

    With Dalembert set as your prototypical shot-blocking center, Moultrie could be a nice body to have on an athletic second-unit, one where Moultrie's athleticism could be used to its fullest potential.

Marquis Teague

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    Kyle Lowry's emergence as one of the league's bright young point guards was phenomenal, but with Goran Dragic set to hit the free-agent market, the Rockets will need someone to back up the Villanova product.

    Although he played just one season under John Calipari at Kentucky, Marquis Teague could be a great value for the Rockets with the 16th pick.

    Although he doesn't score the ball with the same ability as Lowry, Teague's greatest attributes are his ball-handling and court vision. Teague averaged 4.8 assists per game for Kentucky last season, and sees the court extremely well for such a young player.

    While Teague certainly has plenty of room left to improve, the poise that he showed while helping lead Kentucky to a national championship was impressive for a player just 19 years old.

Terrence Ross

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    Similar to Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross' calling card is his ability to knock down jump shots at a high rate. Although he flew under the national radar playing at the University of Washington, Ross is a qualified scorer with a polished shot.

    As a sophomore, Ross averaged 16.4 points in just over 31 minutes of work per game. However, Ross should not be pigeonholed purely as a shooter, because he does possess all of the attributes to become a complete wing player at the next level.

    With good height (6'7''), Ross is a capable rebounder, and his impressive length and athleticism make him a better defender than Lamb.

    While he may not have the upside of a player like Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross is a safer bet to be a long-term solution as a scorer out on the perimeter.