Sam Dekker has demonstrated consistency for the Houston Rockets in the Vegas NBA Summer League. Following Houston’s elimination from the playoff rounds Dekker joined NBA TV, The Starters.
It’s been a long frustrating season for Sam Dekker as the Houston Rockets top draft pick of 2014-15. The Rockets forward appeared in just 3 games and underwent back surgery. Not exactly an ideal rookie campaign for a player most fans were hoping would offset the loss of Chandler Parsons.
No one was sure what to expect from Dekker as he suited up for Summer League. When he appeared to have hurt his leg in their opening game in Vegas, once more there was a collective ‘not again’ refrain. However, Dekker returned in the very next game and was just as productive.
The take away for Mike D’Antoni is the team may have a serviceable player who can play both forward positions and has the ability to hit from outside or drive the paint. Certainly expectations will be much higher this season now that Dekker is healthy.
In their elimination game Wednesday versus the Warriors fate seemed to be in the hands of the Rockets as Montrezl Harrell got a key block and Dekker took off down the sidelines. Unfortunately the ball never made it’s way to Dekker when an untimely turnover cancelled all hopes for a win.
Despite the loss Dekker found himself invited on The Starters to chat with Leigh Ellis and J.E. Skeets.
The following is some of the banter the 3 had:
— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) July 14, 2016
Skeets: How excited are you just to be playing here at Summer League after the season you went through last year with the back surgery.
Dekker: Yeah, it feels really good. I didn’t even play Summer League last year. I got a few games pre-season and then a few games beginning of the year and then I was done.
Skeets: I think played 3 in the NBA season and something like 7 in D-League and that was it.
Dekker: Yeah, that’s about all I did. So right now I’m working the kinks out and just trying to push through this week. I’m enjoying it and having fun and just trying to knock that rust off, like I said.
Ellis: What did you learn from watching the game, because you played it through your whole life and then play in college and then you get to the NBA and it’s your dream, and then all of a sudden it gets taken away from you. What did you learn from watching it?
Dekker: Yeah, I had to kind of step away and you know understand some things and gotta realize it’s better to get this out of the way early in my career then to know it’s a long road and God willing I have a very long career coming up.
So get that out of the way, and then just kind of mentally take in the game as much as possible and be around the vets as much as you can. I saw some things I liked, and some things I didn’t like. And, how to be a pro, so I learned a lot. I can already tell I’m a step ahead right now and essentially you can kind of look at like I’m going into my second rookie year. Just learn on the fly and take it all in.
Skeets: We’ve heard some guys like exactly what you said, how it can be almost beneficial in a weird way, at least early to sort of as you said take it in, and see it from a different perspective, so that’s great to hear.
The Rockets had a busy off season, you guys got a different team, Ryan Anderson, (Dekker interjects: a new staff), Eric Gordon, a new staff in Coach D’Antoni. Let’s ask about that, have you had a chance to talk to coach D’Antoni?
Dekker: Yeah, he’s been around since we hired him he’s been around every day at workouts. I’ve been down there since the first week of May. Because me being hurt they wanted their hands on me, to see how I’m progressing and everything. So, we’ve had a chance to talk, you know the whole staff.
Um, I’m excited with the direction we are going and it’s free flowing offense, you know, push the ball, but under control. But there is going to be a lot of opportunities for myself and our whole team to really be tough to match up with, we’ve got a lot of weapons, and I’m excited for what we have.
Ellis: What sort of goal or expectations have you set for yourself? Do you want to be in that starting line-up.
Dekker: Oh yeah, I mean everyone wants to start, but I just want to crack that rotation and be a big help to this team. Because I have the sort of ability to be a difference maker with my size and athleticism and my skill set. I’m just trying to show the staff and my teammates that they can trust me and I can be an asset to this team and we can hopefully make a championship run.
Skeets: Well we were very excited when we heard you were coming on the show, for a number of reasons, but a big one is you’re one of the best follows on social media in the NBA
Dekker: (laughs) yeah, good and bad.
Skeets: I’m talking Twitter, Instagram, but we did come across some photos on your Instagram account that we were either a) very confused by or b) we just wanted more of the story. so we thought it would be a perfect time to play ‘Explain that Gram’ with Sam Dekker.
They guys then go through a series of his Instagrams which you can see in the following video:
A photo posted by Sam Dekker (@samdek7) on Jun 2, 2016 at 5:33pm PDT
Love this one of his dog Riggins who Dekker credits for helping him with his rehab and keeping him positive.
A photo posted by Sam Dekker (@samdek7) on Jan 13, 2016 at 10:44pm PST
And knowing how the Starters love Justin Beiber they just had to get this one in:
A photo posted by Sam Dekker (@samdek7) on Apr 8, 2016 at 9:57am PDT
Though the Starters had their fun with Dekker and it’s great to see him get some additional exposure, ultimately it’s just great to see Sam on the court and playing well. He seems like a solid, very dialed in guy with a good head on his shoulders. Now, let’s just hope he can stay healthy and as Dekker says “his second rookie season” will translate in to a productive one.
If Summer League is any indication, it looks like he could provide some scoring assistance especially in D’Antoni’s free flowing system.
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