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Houston Rockets Player Profile: In Search Of A 15th Man

By John Bauer
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Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Two New Invitees

Just when it looked like the Rockets were leaning toward selecting Joshua Smith given the playing time he’s received and his production the Rockets brass threw a bit of a monkey wrench in the mix.

Social media is abuzz the Houston Rockets are bringing in diminutive guard 5’6″ Aquille Carr who famously was offered a million dollars in High School while in Grade 10 to play overseas. Carr played 10 games in the D-League in 2013-14 posting averages of 10.7 points, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game.  This past season he played in the Canadian NBL as per the tweet below.

It seems odd the Rockets would bring in another point guard given the depth they currently have at that position with Lawson and Beverley.  Plus Jason Terry is  available in a pinch and Harden is also capable of manning the position if 2 of the previous 3 listed were to both get injured. Therefore odds are Carr is being given a look as a potential guard to add to the Vipers.

Best wishes for former Mill Rat, Aquille Carr, as he gets an shot with the Houston Rockets! @CantGuard3 @NBLCanada pic.twitter.com/rd11wCJqJO

— Mill Rats Basketball (@SJMillRats) October 16, 2015

In their game versus the Miami Heat a new face appeared on the bench and received immediate time on the court: Arsalan Kazemi who has bounced around the NBA more via trades than actual on court time. The 6’7″, 226 pound forward was drafted by Washington in 2013 with the 54th overall pick following 3 seasons spent at Rice University and one at Oregon.

His college stats were more than decent as he registered an average over his 4 seasons of 11.7 points and 10.1 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Houston claimed the Iranian player off waivers from the Atlanta Hawks to give him a look prior to the regular season.

As per an article by Chuck Myron in Hoops Rumors he notes Houston is the third team Kazemi has visited in the past month though he saw no on court time with the Hawks. Myron notes Kazemi played in China last season posting 15 points in 38.9 minutes per game playing for the ChongQing AoLong.

Another believable insight provided via the Hoops Rumors article is Myron proposes the Rockets will not be adding a 15th player given their salary cap situation:

The other interesting  The Rockets face a hard cap because they exceeded the taxpayer’s amount on the mid-level exception with  their signings of K.J. McDaniels and and Montrezl Harrell, so the distinct possibility exists that Houston won’t carry a 15th man for opening night. Still, the Rockets can keep the D-League rights to as many as four of the players they waive, so perhaps that’s what they have in mind for Kazemi.” – Myron, HoopsRumors

Perhaps something else is afoot given the Rockets don’t appear to be set on the five players they originally brought to camp to isolate one as their 15th roster player.

While it appeared a veritable certainty the team would keep a big man these latest moves have the team at Space City Scoop wondering if Morey will keep the 14th roster spot open and just select 4 quality prospects to send to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets D-League affiliate as Myron alluded to in his article. This would address their needs if they keep a couple of big men they can recall if there are injury concerns upfront during the season.

In the interim we wish all the men fighting to win that ever elusive 15th spot or one of those 4 D-League positions the best of luck. With one preseason game remaining and time running out, it should be an interesting battle to see if anyone will step up to claim the final roster spot.

As I stated earlier my money is on Joshua Smith to grab the open spot, but again more interesting will be if Rockets brass decides to go with a 14-man roster for a while.

As always feel free to share your thoughts in our comments section below and tell us who you think the Rockets should keep, release or send to the D-League or if they should sign anyone.

Remember to stay in touch with Space City Scoop for all things Houston Rockets and don’t miss the rest of our Player Profiles and Round Table Sessions as we gear up for the regular season. Follow me on twitter @the__Junkies(double underscore).

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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