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Houston Rockets: Clint Capela wants to be an All-Star

Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets is putting up career numbers this season and he thinks his play is deserving of a spot in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Clint Capela continues to climb the ranks among centers in the NBA. He’s averaging career highs in scoring (17.2 points) and rebounds (12.9) and he’s playing nearly seven more minutes a game this season, averaging 34.2 minutes. Capela is also averaging double-digit shot attempts for the first time in his career, but his field goal percentage (63.6 percent) has remained similar to what we saw last season.

Capela is also making a career-high 60.3 percent of his free throws, which is a monumental improvement since he shot 17.4 percent from the charity stripe in his rookie season. Capela needs to make at least 65 percent of his free throws to receive a $500k bonus from Houston this season, which is a part of his contract for each season in his five-year deal.

Currently, Capela ranks fifth in the league in rebounds, third in field goal percentage and seventh in blocks. Capela has dominated the boards over his last 10 games, averaging 16.7 rebounds per game over that span. He failed to secure at least 10 rebounds just once and has pulled down at least 20 rebounds four times over his last 10 outings.

Capela has handled his increased workload very well this season, and with Nene either hurt or on a minutes restriction and Isaiah Hartenstein splitting time between the Rockets and the G-League, Capela has been Houston’s only center during many stretches of the season.

All things considered, Clint Capela recently told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he sees himself as an All-Star.

“I think I’m an All-Star. I think I’ve been playing at an All-Star level. My numbers are showing that. My team’s winning. I have a great impact on that. And of course, I think that James (Harden) is the MVP.”

Coach Mike D’Antoni agrees and admits that James Harden‘s stellar play has overshadowed Capela’s career year, via Jonathan Feigen.

“We wouldn’t trade him for anybody. I think he’s playing at that (All-Star) level. I think he goes a little bit unnoticed because of what James does. When you’re getting 20-something rebounds, shooting 60, 70 percent, now he’s making his foul shots, he’s relentless and coming to set a pick and rolling, he’s one of the most valuable pieces we have.”

The NBA recently released the first returns of the 2019 All-Star voting ballot and Clint Capela was not mentioned in the front court. Of course, if the fans are voting, the All-Star ballot is more of a popularity contest than it is an accurate representation of who deserves to be in the game.

Draymond Green and Kyle Kuzma are ahead of Capela in All-Star votes, but I don’t think the numbers back that up. Although, Luka Doncic, who is a rookie on a team that is 13th in the Western Conference, has more votes than James Harden, who is arguably the leading candidate for MVP. So it isn’t surprising to see that Capela has been left out.

Clearly, James Harden is the frontrunner for MVP. Next

Most of the best teams are in the west, which means that most of the talent also resides in the west. That makes it hard for Capela to get enough votes to be an All-Star, even if he deserves it. That’s one of the downsides of playing in a stacked conference.

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