Seven first-year players are working out with the Rockets,
including Jeremy Lamb of UConn, Terrence Jones of Kentucky and Royce White of
Iowa State. But Arizona's Kyle Fogg, Iona's Scott Machado, Illinois' Demetri
McCamey and Lithuanian center Donatas Motiejunas are also vying for spots on
the revamped Rockets.
Although all seven players are unlikely to make the final
roster, second – and third-year players like Chandler Parsons, Patrick
Patterson, Omer Asik, Marcus Morris, Jeremy Lin, Gary Forbes and JaJuan Johnson
all stand solid odds of making it, which means the majority of Houston's
15-player roster could consist of players with three years or fewer of NBA
Rockets recognize this, and have taken steps to assure none of their young guys
does something embarrassing like assume he is disqualified after committing
five fouls. The team's official website features a report about how the Rockets
reviewed the rules differences between the college and pro games, such as getting
two fewer seconds to advance the ball past midcourt.
If that seems like a waste of time, consider how often an
NFL rookie falls to the ground untouched and then tosses the ball away,
assuming he is down — as he would be in college. It happens every year, pretty
much. And Celtics center Greg Stiemsma seemed like he got called for a
defensive three-second violation at least once every game. The free throws
opponents received as a result almost nullified any defensive advantage
Stiemsma's shot-blocking talents provided.
The difference between knowing all the minutiae of the rules
and being ignorant of the details can translate into getting or giving away
free points, which can alter who wins and who loses. The Rockets will not beat
many teams this season or in the long term on pure talent alone, so they are
wise to prepare themselves in other ways.