1. Marcin Gortat
Marcin Gortat would surely fill the Rockets’ need for a big man, as the Polish Hammer has carved out a 12-year career. At 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, Gortat has the size the Houston Rockets lack on the frontline.
The 35-year-old is a great rim-runner and is also great at catching lobs, which he’d surely get from James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Gortat has solid career averages of 9.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, and last played for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2018-19 season.
During that season, he averaged 11.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per 36 minutes, and even registered 43 starts for a Clippers team that made the playoffs in the Western Conference. Gortat would also provide value by setting screens, and would be perfect as a pick-and-roll big man.
Gortat thrived while playing alongside John Wall, who is an athletic passing point guard, much like Westbrook. Gortat is also a great rebounding big, as he’s had four consecutive seasons in which he finished inside the top 20 in total rebounds.
The Polish Hammer also ranks 13th all-time in total rebounds among active players, and would provide a huge boost from that standpoint to a Houston Rockets team that’s been frequently outrebounded due to the small ball lineup. Gortat has had four seasons in which he’s finished inside the top-10 in defensive rebounds and five seasons in which he’s finished inside the top-20 in offensive rebounds.
Where Gortat really makes a difference is on the defensive end of the floor, as he finished inside the top-20 in total blocks on three different occasions, and has twice finished inside the top-20 in defensive win shares. During the 2014-15 season, Gortat also ranked 13th in the league in defensive rating, which is further proof of the consistent defensive strengths Gortat put on display.
Although Gortat surely isn’t the same elite defender as he was during his prime, he still had the third-most defensive box plus minus on the Los Angeles Clippers last season. Following the 2018-19 season, in which Gortat’s contract expired, we’ve not heard anything about him garnering interest around the league, which is why he’s remained a free agent. The Houston Rockets would be wise to change that.