Impact of Rockets’ microball in postseason
It is undeniable that small-ball played a role in Houston’s postseason result, as the series with the Lakers most clearly demonstrates. The lack of rebounding and post presence allowed the Lakers to take care of the Rockets rather easily.
However, the Rockets were already playing small even with Clint Capela on the team. What he could have contributed in rebounding does not match what he would have taken away in 3-point shooting and facilitation of Westbrook’s game.
It is debatable whether or not Capela would have even been a more productive player on either side of the floor than Robert Covington from a statistical perspective, and it is quite the uphill battle to claim that the Rockets’ system would have seen anything but even worse play from Russell Westbrook.
But even if you somehow believe that Capela would have been better than Covington for this team’s playoff performance, there is not enough evidence to reasonably assert that it would have been enough to change the outcome of this year’s postseason.
The Rockets just barely eeked past the Thunder and were handled comfortably by the Lakers. Even assuming he is better at all, Clint Capela is not a large enough improvement over Robert Covington, statistically or stylistically, to have made any kind of substantial difference in that result.