The Rockets are interested in adding guard Jared Cunningham, as they are bringing him in for a workout. Here’s why I’m not sure that’s the best move!
The Houston Rockets are set to start training camp at the end of this month and have 17 players on the payroll, as outlined here by Spotrac. They’ve still got room to add more to the roster, so they are surely going to look to add more players. They are also financially strapped, so they are likely looking to bring in players on non-guaranteed deals.
As currently constructed, the Rockets have a top heavy roster, as they are loaded with guards. In fact, 10 of their 17 roster spots are filled with guards. This is why I’m not sure I understand the recent news regarding the team.
According to Marc Spears of ESPN, the Rockets are bringing in Jared Cunningham for a tryout this week. Sure, Cunningham fits the mold of a low cost move as he’ll surely be available for a low salary non-guaranteed contract, but he doesn’t quite fit what the Rockets need. Cunningham is a 6’4 shooting guard, which is a position the Rockets are very deep at.
It would make more sense if the Rockets were seeking to add another forward, as they are lacking depth at that position. It would also make more sense for the Rockets to be looking to add more bigs to the roster, as they don’t have much depth amongst their bigs, outside of Tyson Chandler and Clint Capela. Depending on how Isaiah Hartenstein pans out during camp and/or the beginning of the season, he could provide depth at the center spot as well. But either way, the Rockets don’t need more guards.
On top of that, the Rockets like to fire away from deep, as they’ll likely be the league leader in three point attempts, similar to the last three seasons. Cunningham has a career three point shooting average of 30.6% which doesn’t quite equate to being a sniper from deep. To put that in perspective, Russell Westbrook is a better career three point shooter than Cunningham, and everyone loves to poke holes in Westbrook’s three point shooting ability or lack thereof.
Last season, Cunningham played in the international game for team Germani Brescia Leonessa, and shot just 29.9% from deep and 37.8% from the field overall. Furthermore, based on players appearing in at least 55 games for the Rockets last season, Cunningham’s three point percentage would have ONLY been better than Clint Capela and Cunningham’s field goal percentage would have been the worst. For a Rockets team that prides itself on taking efficient shots, Cunningham doesn’t quite fit that mold at all.
Granted it would be a great feel good story, as he’s been out of the league for the last 3 years, but there’s also likely a reason he’s not been able to latch on to a team for such a long time. I personally would love to be proven wrong, but I’m not sure I understand the interest in Cunningham, as I don’t see the field or the need.