Mike D’Antoni: Clint Capela is ‘as important as anybody’ on Rockets

Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball against the Sacramento Kings (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets shoots the ball against the Sacramento Kings (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As Clint Capela has continued to work hard to improve his game, he has become a very important part of the Houston Rockets, as coach Mike D’Antoni points out.

Through hard work, Clint Capela has continued to improve his game as the years have gone on. Capela is averaging 16.6 points and 12.6 rebounds per game this season, both career highs.

As an elite rim runner, he puts so much pressure on the opposing team’s interior defense that he often creates open 3s for his teammates. Capela’s chemistry with James Harden and Chris Paul is excellent, as Harden seems to connect with Capela on multiple alley-oop plays in every game.

Capela has also quietly become an elite offensive rebounder. This season, he has averaged 4.5 offensive rebounds per game, the third most in the NBA, awarding the Rockets with many extra possessions in the process.

He is Houston’s anchor on defense. Capela is 11th in the NBA in blocked shots and he is perhaps the league’s best center at containing guards on the perimeter. This is a very valuable skill to have on a team that switches everything on defense and in a league that is drifting towards position less basketball.

Capela tends to get overshadowed by Harden and Paul, but his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed by his head coach. Mike D’Antoni recently told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen that Capela is as important as any player on the team.

He’s been good all the time. He’s probably undervalued. He’s good. He’s the key for us, that’s for sure. He just makes it all kind of go…. He’s just as important as anybody we have on the team.”

The Rockets won 12 of their 15 games in March and Capela was just as consistent as anyone else on the team. He finished with double figure scoring in all but four games and grabbed double digit rebounds in all but two games during that span. In fact, Capela has secured at least 10 boards in 12 consecutive games and he has grabbed at least 15 rebounds in four of his last five games.

Next. A look at the last month of the season

Capela is also averaging a career-high 34 minutes per game this season, and he could have an even bigger workload in the postseason. Fortunately, he looks to be healthy and ready for the most important time of the season.