Although the Houston Rockets recently landed Robert Covington, they could still use another wing. Could DeMarre Carroll fill that need?
We’ve heard alot about how the Houston Rockets have been trying to load up on wings, which makes sense considering the small-ball system they employ. This system was put to use by Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni to enable Russell Westbrook to thrive as both a passer and a scorer.
In this offense, Westbrook is surrounded by multiple 3-point shooters, and he’s also defended by big men in the paint, which is a mismatch every time. The Rockets have been playing 6-foot-5 forward PJ Tucker at center, and 6-foot-7 Danuel House at power forward, which provides amazing space for Russ to operate in the paint or to kick out to shooters.
The Rockets also acquired one of the best 3-and-D forwards in the league in Robert Covington, and he’s instantly made a tremendous impact, as he’s provided 3-point shooting and elite defense. In spite of the addition of RoCo, the Rockets could use another wing, which would allow Covington to sit without there being much of a drop-off.
Enter San Antonio Spurs forward DeMarre Carroll. Carroll was made available prior to the trade deadline, which made sense considering the fact that he’s only played nine minutes per game, not to mention the fact that he’s only played in fifteen games this season. The Spurs were reportedly working with Carroll and his agent on a feasible solution to his situation.
You’d have to imagine Carroll is working on a buyout since he wasn’t moved at the deadline, and if the Spurs are intent on helping him find a landing spot, the only option left is a buyout. Carroll posted a cryptic tweet following the trade deadline, which also got everyone thinking the same thing.
Keep in mind that this tweet was posted after the trade deadline, which means he was surely talking about a buyout. The Spurs weren’t able to move him likely because he doesn’t have trade value around the league. This is likely due to the lack of playing time he’s received, not to mention the fact that the Spurs lost all leverage when it leaked that they were looking to move him.
Although Carroll just signed a three-year deal worth $21 million prior to the start of the season, he’d only be leaving 6.6 million on the table, because the only guaranteed year he has left on his deal is the 2020-21 season, and that’s what he’s set to make that year. This makes it much easier for Carroll to agree to terms on a buyout.
If Carroll is in fact bought out, he should be a target for the Houston Rockets for a number of reasons. For starters, at 6-foot-8, he has the size to play center in the small-ball system, which has to be enticing for Rockets’ coach Mike D’Antoni. Carroll is a career 35.9 percent shooter from deep, and really burst onto the scene during the 2013-14 season, which was his first with the Atlanta Hawks.
Carroll averaged 11.1 points per game on 36.2 percent from deep, and upped his long-range shooting to 40.9 percent from deep during the postseason. Carroll was also one of the Hawks’ best defenders that year, as he averaged 2.6 defensive win shares, which was second on the team.
Carroll was also a big reason why the Hawks went 60-22 during the 2014-15 season, which gave them the top spot in the Eastern Conference, as he performed even better in his second season in the A. Carroll averaged 12.6 points per game on 39.5 percent from downtown that season, which was 17th-best in the league, not to mention the fact that he averaged 2.8 defensive win shares.
Carroll increased his level of play during the playoffs, as he shot 40.3 percent from deep, and averaged 14.6 points per game that year. Carroll found himself with the Toronto Raptors during the following year, and he averaged 11 points per game on 39 percent from long-range, which continued his stellar shooting from deep.
It’s not like it’s been that long since Carroll balled out either, as he had another stellar year with the Brooklyn Nets during the 2017-18 season as well. During that season, he averaged a career-best 13.5 points per game on 37.1 percent from downtown, which the Houston Rockets could use in a major way.
We don’t know what’s going to happen with the Spurs, but if Carroll is in fact bought out, the Houston Rockets would be wise to pursue him, as he’d bring size, defense and 3-point shooting to the equation.