3. Nerlens Noel
To continue the conversation about roster versatility, the Rockets really could have used Clint Capela against the Lakers. While going small unlocked Russell Westbrook, if he isn’t cooking, it’d be nice to have a center play 15 to 20 minutes. Also, centers don’t just clog the lane. They can provide driving lanes through their screen setting and rim running.
A lineup of Nerlens Noel, Covington, Tucker, Harden, and Westbrook could be a scary defensive unit, and more importantly, the Rockets could stagger Noel and Westbrook’s minutes so their inability to space the floor won’t be as much of an issue.
NBA games are 48 minutes long. The time that a team’s best players sit is still crucial to any team’s chances. Noel would make the Rockets’ bench stronger and the team more versatile.
The biggest reason Noel is attractive for the Rockets is that he is young. The Rockets were tied with the Bucks for the oldest team in the league, and with no draft picks this year, that figure will only increase. The Rockets need to get younger and find players with possible upside. Noel fits both of those criteria and could be used to get another piece down the line.
Next: Number 2