One of the Houston Rocket’s glaring weakness is the lack of production from the bench so far this season. So far this season, Houston ranks 26th in bench scoring production per game, 25th in rebounds per game, and 23rd in field goal percentage. Of course, there are many reasons why the Rockets bench has been so lackluster thus far: youth, inexperience, injuries all come into mind, so searching for production from any player is a struggle each night.
In the Rocket’s 120-98 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday night, the Rockets bench again was outscored 33-13. But that number can be a little misleading as one usual reserve, Daequan Cook, got the start for an injured Chandler Parsons. Cook responded nicely, playing 38 minutes while scoring 18 points. In the previous two games, Cook has also produced nicely, scoring 5 points in 10 minutes against the Toronto Raptors, and 9 points in 26 minutes against the New York Knicks. With top reserve Carlos Delfino returning soon from a groin injury, Cook can become a big factor for the Rockets’ bench, along with Marcus Morris, and Greg Smith.
A 6-year veteran and 3-point sharpshooter, Cook’s shooting can be huge for Houston, along with his veteran presence. Houston is Cook’s 3rd team, as he started his career in 2007 with the Miami Heat, where he saw some early success. After playing 179 games in 3 years with the Heat, and also winning the 2009 NBA All-Star Three Point Shootout, Cook spent the last 2 seasons with the Thunder, before being traded to the Rockets with James Harden, Cole Aldrich, and Lazar Hayward days before the season began. He has played sparingly in the early season, but lately, has received minutes due to injuries.
Acting head coach Kelvin Sampson has struggled looking for backcourt production off the bench since the injury to Delfino, but with Cook’s recent shooting, he and Delfino can help solidify the Rockets bench. With Delfino’s return possibly on Saturday against the Utah Jazz, look for Sampson to use Morris as the back-up 4 more now with Delfino and Cook getting playing time as the 2 and 3.
The Rockets also listed Parson’s shoulder strain as day-to-day. It is unknown as to when he will return, so look for Cook to fill in nicely into the starting line-up in the meantime.