Houston Rockets center Clint Capela is putting together another monster season and he has a good chance to make the All-Star game.
Many Houston Rockets fans remember the disastrous playoff series vs the Golden State Warriors in 2019 when Clint Capela was nearly unplayable for most of the series. This year started off slow for Capela, as he was only averaging 8.0 rebounds per game in 26.3 minutes to start the season. In his last nine games, those averages have skyrocketed to 19.1 rebounds in 35.6 minutes. Even if his numbers dip over the next few months, if he can have anywhere close to this level of production going forward, Capela may be heading to his first All-Star game.
Last year, Capela was having an excellent season, prior to his injury in January. Before his injury, he was averaging 17.2 points and nearly 13 rebounds a game. Capela, unfortunately, suffered ligament damage in his right thumb in January that sidelined him for several weeks. With the injury, it eliminated his chance for his first All-Star appearance. He wasn’t the same once he got back but up until that point, he was having an All-Star level season.
Coming into this year, Capela was determined to erase the taste of last year’s disappointing performance vs the Warriors. The season didn’t start off the way Capela was hoping as he struggled to make an impact earlier in the year. Fortunately, we found out there was a reason for this slow start.
A sore right shoulder has been a factor in Clint Capela's slow start. He hurt it playing for Swiss national team and has been working to strengthen it. "Getting there slowly," he said, adding that it's really bothered him trying to dunk with one hand and reaching for rebounds.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) November 7, 2019
Capela was averaging under 30 minutes to start the season and was consistently beaten on the boards by the opposing center. Once Capela’s shoulder injury began to heal his production quickly improved. Capela has been on a rebounding tear in the last eight games, as his lowest rebounding total during this stretch of games is a whopping 16 rebounds. He had 20 rebounds in five straight games and 19 in the sixth game. Capela followed that game up with 23 rebounds. Capela’s streak of five games with 20 or more rebounds was tied for the third-longest of any player since the 1983-84 season.
During this rebounding tear, Capela is not just rebounding at a high rate but filling the stat sheet in other areas. Capela has scored in double-digits in every game this year but one. In his last seven games, Capela has 20 blocked shots as well. The numbers the Houston Rockets big man has been putting up are the best of his career.
One thing to keep in mind is that the NBA has removed the center position from the All-Star ballot, so now Capela is having to compete with not only other centers but forwards as well. Capela will continue to dominate on the boards so the key for him to make the All-Star team will be other stats like scoring, blocking shots and his overall defense.
Capela will have a tough time making the All-Star not because of his own performance but because of all the talent that is in the frontcourt in the Western Conference. Even if Capela doesn’t make the team his steady improvement will go a long way in helping the Rockets take that next step.