What can William Howard bring to the Houston Rockets this season?

Rio Grande Valley Vipers William Howard (Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rio Grande Valley Vipers William Howard (Photo by Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images) /

William Howard can bring the Houston Rockets size at the wing position they haven’t had since the likes of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute.

With the news that the Houston Rockets are calling up William Howard from the G League, we examine how Howard has performed and what he can bring going forward. The Rockets are heading out on a four-game road trip that starts Friday in Minnesota. With P.J. Tucker battling through a shoulder injury, the need for a quality wing and frontcourt help is imperative to keep him from having to play 40 minutes again.

How Howard has Performed in the G League

The Rockets signed Howard to a two-way deal on Dec 27 and since then Howard has been playing for the Rio Grande Vipers. In 25 games, the 26-year-old has averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting a respectable 41.9 percent from downtown.

What really stands out from his numbers so far is the fact that he’s shooting over 40 percent from downtown. For a team like the Rockets who lack accuracy with their outside shooting so far, this is a great addition if Howard can continue it at the next level.

In a game earlier this week, Howard demonstrated his ability to score from both inside and out:

a performance that sparked a matinee win | #2WayPlayer @whow25

25 PTS | 11 REB | 3 AST@HoustonRockets ↔️ @RGVVipers pic.twitter.com/8in5hy121f

— NBA G League (@nbagleague) January 21, 2020

What Howard Can Bring to the Houston Rockets

At 6-ft-8, Howard would be one of the taller Rockets on the team and the tallest wing player. Of course, height alone doesn’t equal great play but as the saying goes, you can’t teach height. Howard is also an above-average defender with a long wingspan that can help him guard either forward position. Joseph Treutlein from DraftExpress had this scouting report about Howard before his first game in college.

With his size, long arms and solid frame, Howard is capable of defending either forward position at the NCAA level. He lacks a degree of lateral quickness on the wing and some strength/toughness to contain more physically developed post players, but should be able to hold his own against the large majority of players he matches up against.

Howard is not super athletic like a Gerald Green but with his long wingspan and tall frame he can help a Rockets team that is starting two forwards who are both 6-ft-5. Howard, however, can certainly still play above the rim.

#Rockets Two-Way player William Howard with an impressive play pic.twitter.com/BlMMtq0Tbw

— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 8, 2020

His average of over 5.5 rebounds per game from the small forward position is something that the Rockets could benefit from. Howard is also a decent pick-setter and shows enough basketball intelligence that he shouldn’t look lost on the court. His game is similar to Nicolas Batum in that he can play either forward position and has enough ball-handling skills to get to the rim.

If he can provide anywhere close to the play Batum offered earlier in his career, the Houston Rockets will be in great shape going forward. With a report that Chris Clemons was assigned to the G League earlier Friday, that means a spot is open for Howard to get his shot.

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With injuries to Tucker and the Rockets struggling with size hopefully, Mike D’Antoni will likely give Howard a chance to crack the rotation and possibly become the wing the Rockets have been missing for the last two years.