He hasn’t had any playing time with the Rockets yet, but forward DeMarre Carroll’s enthusiasm for defense is much-appreciated.

It’s ironic that the Rockets traded away Shane Battier, who was their best defender, when they’ve struggled defensively just about all season. But in return, they’ve brought in center Hasheem Thabeet, along with Carroll, from the Memphis Grizzlies.

When meeting with the Houston media for the first time on Saturday, Carroll emphasized his scrapiness and his hustle. He referred to himself as a junkyard dog.

“You can throw me out anywhere, and I’m going to go out and give my 100 percent,” Carroll said. “It’s not all about talent. It’s about how hard you play.”

DeMarre Carroll, a Missouri product, has yet to get any playing time for the Rockets. ( Getty Images )Carroll added that he wants his play to energize fans and not to worry if he’s seen diving to the ground. It won’t be because he’s hurt but because he will out-hustle the player next to him for the ball.

During their first game with the Rockets Saturday night at Toyota Center, Thabeet played only two minutes for no points and two personal fouls. Thabeet did not play Sunday against the Hornets in New Orleans. But Carroll has not played at all.

So far, Carroll has been all bark and and has yet to bite.

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