Last night, another backup big man went down with an injury.
In last night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Tarik Black left the game with an injury to his eye in the third quarter. He wasn’t able to return, so that left the Rockets with Ryan Anderson playing backup center.
With Nene out already and Black out for at least another game, the Rockets are really starting to lack depth at the center position momentarily. Let’s look at a few options that the team has:
Play young players
Chinanu Onuaku is a player that played in situations like this last season (though briefly). He has been in the G-League for the majority of the season, but he was called up recently from there. Nanu has averaged around 10 points and 9 rebounds per game with the RGV Vipers.
Zhou Qi is also a candidate for an increase in minutes. Though he technically is identified as a power forward this season, he has the height of a center and the Rockets may try to use him as such.
Ryan Anderson at backup center
It is possible that we see the Rockets continue to use a smaller rotation and have Ryno play a small-ball center with the bench unit. Anderson has increased his rebounding production recently, especially when Capela was injured.
Clint Capela will likely need to increase his minutes-load, but knowing Coach D’Antoni, he’ll want to keep his rotation small.
Sign/Trade for a center
A backup center is someone the Rockets likely need before the trade deadline. With this Black injury, they might want it even sooner than that.
Both Nene and Black haven’t been fantastic at rebounding and defense this season, so looking on the market for someone with those abilities would be good for Houston.
Knowing Morey, he’s always looking to improve the team. This is one area where he can do just that (and I’m sure he recognizes that).