Pick two came and went. Then pick five. Then seven and eight and it began to dawn on Rockets fans: For all the talk of trades for Dwight Howard and moving up into the top ten of the draft, Houston, a team mired in mediocrity, would stand pat and roll the dice with picks 12, 16 and 18. In fact, there were far fewer trades on draft night than predicted, so Daryl Morey and company were not alone.
And though their choices offer an intriguing mix of skills, the biggest story of the night was the lack of a big story. Earlier in the week, the team dealt forward Chase Budinger to Minnesota for pick 18 and Samuel Dalembert to Milwaukee for pick 12, fueling speculation that Morey would package picks and players -- including disgruntled point guard Kyle Lowry -- to get as many as two picks in the top ten, perhaps as high as number two. All indications are they tried to do just that as they have on several different draft nights in the last few years, but failed and were left to stay where they were.