1. Clint Capela
Although Clint Capela has turned into a shot-blocking nightmare and a machine on the glass, he was once a very unknown prospect out of Switzerland. The scouting report was that he was one of the best players to ever come out of Europe, but that he lacked effort, strength, and fundamentals, which was arguably the most important attribute.
Capela was part of a draft class that included Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon, which partly contributed to him falling to the 25th pick in the draft that year. Capela played sparingly during his first two seasons with the Houston Rockets, as the Rockets still had Dwight Howard at the time.
When D12 decided to leave the Space City in 2016, Capela became the Rockets’ starting center. Capela posted averages of 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, and was a pivotal part of the new look Rockets, which included Mike D’Antoni, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson, who were all newcomers.
Capela began to develop chemistry with James Harden, which became evident over the course of his following three seasons in Houston. The rebounding machine improved upon a solid 2016-17 campaign during the 2017-18 season, as he posted averages of 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks.
The Houston Rockets had the best record in the Western Conference that season, and went 42-3 during the regular season when Capela, Chris Paul, and James Harden were all on the court. With Capela clearly showing his value for the Rockets, he inked a five-year contract worth $90 million prior to the start of the 2018-19 season.
Capela had a monster 2018-19 campaign, as he averaged 16.6 points, 12.7 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. The Switzerland native finished fifth in rebounds per game and 12th in blocks per game during that season, and had his best all-around season upto that point.
During the 2019-20 season, Capela posted averages of 13.9 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks, while reaching the 20 rebound plateau eight different times. Capela finished third in rebounds per game and ninth in blocks per game, as he continued to consistently improve upon his game.
But Capela missed 11 of the first 50 games this season, which allowed the Rockets to tinker with the small-ball strategy in his absence. This ultimately turned out to be a successful approach, as the Rockets went 10-1 without Capela, which ultimately led to him being traded for Robert Covington at the trade deadline.
After just four seasons as a starter for the Houston Rockets, Capela has left mark on the Rockets’ record books, as he ranks first in effective field goal percentage, second in true shooting percentage, fifth in total blocks, sixth in player efficiency rating, and eighth in rebounds per game.
Capela continued to develop his game year-after-year and has proven to become one of the best players the Rockets selected later in the draft,