The Houston Rockets had a summer league team on the court in both Orlando and Las Vegas. Isaiah Canaan and Donatas Motiejunas did not play in Orlando, and it showed. The Rockets finished 1-4 in Orlando and were arguably one of the worst teams there. The one bright spot from Orlando was 2nd round pick Nick Johnson. He came out and let everyone know he should have been drafted way earlier than 42nd, probably even in the first round. Johnson came out day 1 making highlights as he dunked all over Tim Ohlbrecht. Here is the dunk if you have not seen it yet:
Johnson finished that game with 18 points. and averaged 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5 assist per game in Orlando. Leading the team in each category.
Early on in Las Vegas it looked as if it would be very similar to Orlando as the Rockets quickly lost their first two games in Sin City. Then something unexpected happened, they won their next 5 games and ended up in the championship game against Ray McCallum and the Kings. McCallum single handedly defeated the Rockets in the summer league championship game as he posted 29 points and 9 rebounds. Just 5 points shy from scoring half as many points as the entire Rockets team. Despite no one being able to guard McCallum, the final score was 68-77, with the Kings expanding on their lead in the final minutes of the game.
All in all, it was successful summer league for the Rockets with three main takeaways, Isaiah Canaan, Donatas Montiejunas, and Nick Johnson. It is safe to say that these three players were responsible for leading the Rockets to the championship game in Vegas. They each consistently produced good numbers and hinted that they belong in the NBA.
Canaan averaged 17 points, and 3 assist per game. It would have been nice to see Canaan’s assist numbers higher, but he is a scoring point guard and that is exactly what he did.
Montiejunas averaged 16.8 points and 8 rebounds per game. This should put the biggest smile on your face as Montiejunas will most likely be the first center off the bench this season for the Rockets. He showed he can stretch the floor and somewhat defend in the paint as a 7 footer should.
Nick Johnson’s production decreased a little in Vegas but so did he usage. In Orlando he was the #1 option and primary ball handler, in Vegas he fell behind Canaan and Montiejunas. Johnson still did very well, especially for the 42nd overall pick, averaging 12.5 points, and 4.4 rebounds per game in Vegas. `