Shortly after the league foolishly suspended Draymond Green. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers took over the world of sports Monday afternoon. As both teams prepared for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, it was a quiet day in Clutch City for the Houston Rockets.
Regardless of the hype surrounding the game, a certain analyst still pondered the future of Dwight Howard and the Houston Rockets. For the past two months, Howard’s relationship with the organization is over in the eyes of many. Even after rumors of a potential return to Houston, D12’s future in Clutch City still seems cloudy.
As the Rockets prepare to rebuild the team, Sporting News‘ Danny Leroux suggested it’s in Houston’s best interest to allow Howard to walk, in order to make the right moves for the summer.
"The first big piece is Howard. The 30-year-old big man likely will decline his lucrative player option even if he might take a small financial hit next season in favor of the security of a long-term contract in a market flush with cash. It seems unlikely the Rockets would look to bring him back after clashes with Harden and the large long-term commitment likely necessary, but opting out would only make it more difficult because it would increase his salary cap spot from $23 million to his maximum salary, likely around $30 million."
Surprisingly, not pursuing Howard is not a bad idea. Without D12, it would make it a lot easier for Houston to pursue other free agents this summer. With D12 in his final days in Houston, Bleacher Report‘s Zach Buckley believes that 2017 will be the year of rising star Clint Capela.
"The player currently blocking ‘s path, , will almost certainly decline his and enter unrestricted free agency. is already headed there, and Michael Beasley could join him if his non-guaranteed $1.4 million salary isn’t picked up. Terrence Jones and have restricted free agency awaiting them. The Rockets will fill some of those vacancies around , but he should still be in line for major minutes. They played markedly better with him (plus-3.1 net rating) than without (minus-2.0) this season, and he could prove even more valuable under new head coach Mike . Capela Dwight Howard $23.2 million player option Josh Smith Donatas Motiejunas Capela D’Antoni"
As the league approaches the NBA Draft, the excitement is in the air to welcome the next wave of NBA greats. Although Houston is far from drafting Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, or Buddy Hield, this year’s draft class has given hope to Clutch City with their second round pick.
According to Danny Emerman of The Dream Shake, Maryland’s swingman Jake Layman maybe a perfect fit in Houston.
"While he can certainly rain threes, Layman struggles once he puts the ball on the floor. In the NBA, he’ll have a strict three-dribble limit regardless of what team he plays for. He has a tendency to drive with his head down and often misses open teammates on the perimeter. He has lots of room for improvement as a playmaker, but his role in the league will exclusively be “3-and-D.” Defensively, he is a mysterious prospect. He plays the passing lanes well and has a mostly impressive physical profile, but his effort can be questionable at times."
Despite having the 37th pick, there are plenty of great players projected to go in the second around. While Layman considered an athletic forward with shooting range, Space City Scoops own Daniel Zepeda believes Houston should draft China’s Zhou Qi. As my co-writer, best put it “the second coming of Yao Ming.”
"feet. At over seven feet tall, size alone makes hard to pass up, but it’s also enough to keep Daryl Morey on his toes with suspicion. Qi comes in at a lean 218 lbs. which has allowed him to be mobile for his size with quick Zhou Qi He also is one of the best rim protectors this year’s draft has to offer. In 42 games in the Chinese Basketball Association, Qi registered just under double-digit rebounds per game (9.8) and blocked 3.2 shots per contest. At the draft combine, Qi registered at 7’7.75″ wingspan, only three active NBA players have a longer reach ( , and ). It was the first time in over a decade that a Chinese player was invited to the combine. Alexis Ajinca Rudy Gobert Boban Marjanovic"
Not sure about the next Yao, but Zhou Qi sounds like a great selection. Despite their second round pick. This is going to be an interesting draft to watch for the Rockets.
Make sure you check out the current Space City Scoop series including the rest of our year-end player analysis, draft prospects worthy of Rockets picking or trading for, our best of reader/fan posts and our end of season Rockets Round Table:
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