Would the Rockets have fared better in the playoffs with Clint Capela?
By Kurt Olson
Robert Covington’s productivity in the playoffs
Statistically, Robert Covington was quite good in this season’s playoff run. Covington averaged 11.2 points on 49.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc.
As we expected, he was great defensively as well. He may have struggled with Chris Paul at times in the first round, but for the majority of the time he was one of the best defenders on the team, averaging 2.5 steals and 1.1 blocks.
Like any player, Covington had a few duds in his playoff run, but for the most part, he was a great contributor in the postseason.
While Capela may have helped on the boards more than Covington did, both matchups the Rockets had would not have been advantageous to Capela’s game. There are a few reasons to suspect Capela’s impact would have been lower than Covington’s was.
Firstly, if you think RoCo was struggling with Chris Paul, imagine someone who is larger and slower than him getting switched onto CP3. With a player as cerebral as Paul is, Capela would have been hunted for switches consistently throughout the series.
Assuming the Houston Rockets would have still made it out of the first round with Capela, the Lakers would also have provided massive challenges for him. Having to protect the paint from a driving force such as LeBron James while defending Anthony Davis at the same time is something that Clint was simply not likely to do well.
On the other end of the floor, Capela struggles with bigs who are stronger and bigger than he is. AD or even someone like Javale McGee, who we have seen outperform Capela before, would have made it quite difficult for a center who cannot create his own shot to score.
That goes without mentioning former Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, who basically could not even play in this series due to the Rockets style of play. In a scenario where Capela is in Houston instead of Covington, that makes for three big men who could effectively defend Capela and battle him for rebounds on the other end of the floor.
Clint Capela is also obviously not a 3-point shooter, which is one of the most significant aspects of the Rockets’ game. Especially with Eric Gordon’s shooting in the first round, having a lineup where Russ, Gordon, and Capela are on the floor would have considerably limited Houston’s scoring punch.
It is hard to argue Capela would have been a stylistic improvement over Covington in the playoffs, and there is no guarantee he would have produced as much as RoCo statistically either.
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