Houston Rockets: Making the Cut
Chicago Bulls forward Edwin Ubiles (24) defends against Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones during the first half at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
The Houston Rockets will enter the 2013-2014 preseason with a total of 18 players on the roster. Obviously, that number will be reduced by the time the regular season starts; but who will make the cut? Without naming the obvious players that will make the team, I will cover the guys that are on the verge of not making it.
Jordan Henriquez, BJ Young and Robert Covington are all players that are “on the bubble” coming into training camp. Covington had an impressive summer league, and must have left a good impression with the Rockets as he was signed.
Rockets new signings include Isaiah Canaan(left), Robert Covington(center), B.J. Young(right)
Robert Covington (a 6-8 Small Forward out of Tennessee State) played well with the likes of Greg Smith, Terrence Jones, and Patrick Beverley in summer league games and proved that he could shoot, defend and run the floor (all which fit the Rockets system). Covington’s play earned him a two-year-deal at the league minimum, and includes $150,000 in guaranteed money. Even though Covington has a contract with the team, there is no guarantee he will get any playing time in the regular season, or even make the team. If he does not make the initial 15-man roster, there is always the D-League which has proven to be a good thing for other Rockets players such as Donatas Motiejunas, Jones and Smith.
B.J. Young was another rookie that impressed in his summer league showing with the Rockets. He averaged 11.8 points per contest while adding 1.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game. The point guard position is one that is demanding and you have to have leadership qualities to run the position. As a rookie coming into the point guard-studded Rockets roster, most do not see where Young fits on the team’s 15-man rotation (especially with the team drafting Isaiah Canaan in the 2nd round of last years’ draft). Young is a player that comes into training camp with his back against the wall. Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley will not let up on him in practice just because he’s a “nice kid”, he will have to bring it to show he belongs.
Jordan Henriquez is also a player that will have to be nothing short of exceptional to even make the 15-man roster. The Kansas St. product averaged 5 points a game in his final year with the team. Henriquez could be one of those players that turn some heads in camp. At 6’11, the athletic big man can not only score on the inside, but also has a nice shooting touch to go with it. With training camp around the corner, as well as the pre-season, he will have multiple opportunities to prove his worth to the team.
The roster next year will be a great one for the Rockets, especially the starting 5 and the reserves coming off the bench. Who will be the bench warmers, or the “cagey veterans” that every team has? Many think Marcus Camby was signed strictly as an insurance policy coming into this season (especially after the Asik trade rumors). Also Kevin Mchale has been known to frequently switch among Jones, Smith and Motiejunas depending on the play of each of the three at the power forward position. Then there is Canaan, who is the odd man out with Lin and Beverley in front of him. He can also serve as an insurance policy with all the off-season rumors of moving Lin and giving the starting job to Beverley.
The active 12-man rotation: (Starters) Dwight Howard, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Terrence Jones (Bench) Omer Asik, Greg Smith, Francisco Garcia, Patrick Beverley, Aaron Brooks, , Ronnie Brewer Donatas Motiejunas. (Inactives) Omri CasspiReggie Williams, and Marcus Camby