2021-22 Rockets roster review, offseason outlook: Anthony Lamb

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(Editor’s note: We are starting our individual reviews of all players from the Houston Rockets who finished the 2021-22 season with the team. To access other reviews as part of this ongoing series, click here.)

Rockets Player: Anthony Lamb, 6-foot-6 forward, 24 years old

2021-22 G League statistics: 16.0 points (45.9% FG, 39.2% on 3-pointers), 7.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists in 33.8 minutes

Professional Experience: 2 seasons

Contract Status: Restricted free agent in 2022 offseason

Lamb hasn’t played with the Rockets since the 2020-21 season, when he averaged 5.5 points and 2.9 rebounds in 17.3 minutes per game. He played for most of the 2021-22 season with Houston’s NBA G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Vipers, and started at forward for the team that ultimately won the 2022 G League Finals.

The Rockets signed Lamb to a two-way contract late in the 2021-22 regular season, which makes him a restricted free agent this offseason and gives Houston the right to match any outside offer and retain him.

Highlights

Analysis

Lamb’s game isn’t flashy, but it can work. He’s a fundamentally sound scorer who understands positioning and angles, and his 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 improved this year as both a long-range shooter and as a playmaker.

After averaging 3.7 assists in 33.8 minutes per game with the Vipers last season, Lamb increased that to 4.7 in identical minutes this season. He raised his average 3-point attempts per game from 5.2 to 7.0, and the accuracy (41.9% vs. 39.2%) held relatively steady and at a near-elite rate.

Outlook

The Rockets clearly see value in Lamb, as evidenced by general manager Rafael Stone bringing him to 2021-22 training camp with the NBA roster and keeping him with the organization’s G League affiliate. Based on his status as a restricted free agent, the odds would seem to be good that Lamb gets another run at training camp in 2022-23, and perhaps with Houston’s 2022 Las Vegas Summer League team in July.

As for whether Lamb can earn an NBA regular-season roster spot, which he couldn’t do with the Rockets in 2021-22, it may depend on other moves during the offseason. Houston had a relatively deep roster last season, combining experienced veterans like Christian Wood and Eric Gordon with six rookies — including four picked in the first round.

If general manager Rafael Stone decides some veterans are no longer needed based on the growth of his young core — or if a consolidation trade is made, with two or three players shipped out for one specific upgrade — that may make for friendlier roster math (pertaining to Lamb).

While Lamb had a solid G League season in 2021-22, nothing about it appears likely to draw a significant bid in free agency. His best-case scenario would seem to be an Exhibit 10 contract (i.e. a training camp invite) or perhaps a partially guaranteed minimum-salary deal. Even if Lamb hypothetically signed one of those with another team, the Rockets would likely match that offer and keep him, given the small commitment.

From there, it’s a waiting game to see if the construct of the surrounding roster leaves a greater opening for someone like Lamb to make a push.

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