Houston Rockets: Young Power Forwards In Good Hands With Kevin McHale
By Kyle Adams
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Rockets are the youngest team in the league, but the power forward position is where they really lack experience. Houston owns four rookie power forwards who were all highly sought after in the draft. Most teams would be against lacking veteran leadership at any position, but not this team. With one of the best power forwards of all time in Kevin McHale as the head coach these young guys are in great hands.
Donatas Motiejunas is the starting power forward at just 21 years old. In my opinion he has the most talent and highest upside among the the four guys. When it comes to offense there is nothing he can’t do. I like to compare him to a young Dirk Nowitzki. He can shoot the ball from three but also has a nice post up game.
The only knocks I have against Motiejunas are his lack of strength. He needs to gain more weight to fit his seven foot frame and also put on a little muscle. He struggles at times rebounding the ball, especially when it comes to defense. I’m sure he is working hard on all of these things and will continue to work on it more in the offseason.
We all know about Royce White’s mental health issues and how long it took him to even step on the court. Since he has joined the Rio Grande Valley Vipers he still has issues with getting on the court. Only this time it’s not his mental health. So far he has been ejected in two of his games. This is a guy who has the talent to become a star in the NBA. He’s a big man that can handle the ball like a point guard but also has the strength of a seven foot center. His talent level is rare, all he needs to do is keep his head on straight and keep progressing.
Terrence Jones is a guy I think that has been overlooked by McHale. In the few times he has gotten an opportunity he showed flashes of a great talent. This is a guy who tore up the D-League and was selected to the All-Star game. He has one of the best jab steps I’ve ever seen and can rock his opponent to sleep with it. Out of all four of these guys I think he has the least amount of holes in his game. He does need to work on his ball handling and gain more strength and weight, but these things will come in time.
One of the biggest moves at the trade deadline was the Rockets trading for Thomas Robinson. This young man was lost with the Sacramento Kings, but it was in no way his fault. You can’t blame a rookie for being drafted by one of the worst ran franchises in all of sports. He was buried on the bench where he got little playing time. When he did see the floor he was surrounded by ball hogs and immature ball players. This change of scenery could literally save his career.
He is a little short for a big man but he makes up for it with his strength and athleticism. He runs the floor very well and can jump with the best of them. He plays better than defense than you would usually see from a rookie. He does need work on offense with his post up game and shot. Luckily he has McHale as his coach.
The fact is all of these guys will have the chance to make something of themselves in this league. But for a couple of them that will never happen with the Rockets. Daryl Morey looks at these guys as young, talented assets. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all traded at some point, but I could also see them grooming a couple of them as well.
Kevin McHale is the perfect coach for these guys. They may not see a lot of playing time with him but they will learn a lot from him in practice. McHale had one of the greatest offensive and defensive post games in NBA history. Even if these guys get dealt or stay put they will all be able to take something away from their time in Houston as long as McHale is leading the way. The future is bright at the power forward spot for the Houston Rockets.