Rockets Player: Anthony Lamb, 6-foot-6 forward, 23 years old
Statistics in Houston: 5.5 points (39.0% FG, 32.4% on 3-pointers), 2.9 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game
Professional Experience: One NBA season
Contract Status: Signed to two-way deal, will be free agent
Over the final 11 games of Houston’s 2020-21 season, Lamb scored 14 or more points four times, including two games of more than 20 points. During that 11-game run, he shot 46.8% from the field and 38.3% on 3-pointers. While his overall efficiency numbers remain subpar, there was clear growth as his rookie season progressed. That could provide a reason to believe that Lamb’s earlier struggles were due to inexperience.
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Lamb's game isn't flashy, but it can work. He's a fundamentally sound scorer who understands positioning and angles, and having a high basketball IQ often allows him to overcome average athleticism. Lamb's propensity for mid-range shots doesn't fit the modern NBA shot chart, but he did show growth from 3-point range as his rookie year progressed. Over Lamb's final 11 games as a rookie, he averaged 9.4 points (46.8% FG, 38.3% on 3-pointers) and 3.5 rebounds in 25.4 minutes. It was quite an improvement from his first 13 games, when Lamb scored 2.3 points (24.4% FG, 20.8% on 3-pointers) in 10.5 minutes per game.
Unlike fellow rookie Armoni Brooks, who was also on a two-way contract, it's doubtful that Lamb showed enough to earn a standard deal from the Rockets in 2021 free agency. Brooks had a larger sample of success from 3-point range, and he also offers a quicker release. Furthermore, it's worth noting that roster spots will be at a premium for the Rockets, since they currently have three first-round picks in the NBA's 2021 draft. Yet, those factors don't preclude a Lamb return. He's likely to be among the young players tracked by Houston in offseason workouts, and he appears to be a good candidate for their team at the NBA Summer League, as well. At a bare minimum, Lamb seems to be a strong option for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, who are Houston's G League affiliate. That's where Lamb played before Houston promoted him in March. The question is whether Lamb might get another two-way deal with the Rockets, or another team, that could give him more of an NBA opportunity. The answer likely depends on his offseason workouts and Summer League performances, as well as other factors such as roster construction (i.e. how many forwards Houston has on its depth chart) and what alternative options are available for that two-way slot. [listicle id=49627]