Houston Rockets: 3 Free agent targets that would thrive in small ball

Houston Rockets mascot Clutch (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets mascot Clutch (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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Jordan McRae (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Jordan McRae (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

Jordan McRae: Guard → Wing/Forward

Jordan McRae is the definition of a basketball nomad. His journey through the basketball wilderness started with a four-year college career at Tennessee. He was drafted in the second round by the Spurs and traded that draft night to the 76ers.

Instead of trying his luck, likely as a two-way player with the Sixers, he played in Australia, where he starred. He returned to the U.S. and played for the Sixers G League affiliate before signing a 10-day contract with the Phoenix Suns in 2016.

He spent 2016 bouncing between the G League and the NBA before the Cleveland Cavaliers signed him to a 10-day contract. He impressed enough that he was signed to a multi-year contract and helped the Cavs as they went on to win the NBA championship. However, McRae’s journey was far from over.

In March 2017, McRae was waived by the Cavaliers. Instead of being a fringe player, always susceptible to being yo-yoed between the development league or dismissed, he decided to try his luck in Spain.

A shoulder injury limited him to four games, and in 2018 he tried his hand at his NBA dream again by signing a two-way contract with the Washington Wizards. He impressed the Wizards enough for them to convert his contract into a standard NBA contract.

In 2020, McRae was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Shabazz Napier before being waived by the Denver Nuggets, not even a month following his acquisition. The Detroit Pistons picked him up off waivers, and now McRae is once again trying to find a home.

Jordan McRae is not the type of player who’s signing draws much attention but is exactly the type of player the Rockets need to be targeting. McRae, first and foremost, can shoot the three-ball.

He isn’t elite but being a league-average 3-point shooter is extremely valuable, especially for a team that takes more threes than twos. His career 3-point percentage from the corner is 42.9 percent, and at 6-5, he could be the second coming of P.J. Tucker.

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McRae was a combo guard upon coming into the league but has slowly seen his minutes shift up the defensive spectrum. He spent 41 percent of his minutes at small forward, and the Rockets should look to have him play there full time and see some action at power forward.

Another benefit of procuring McRae’s services is that he could potentially be on a two-way contract or a minimal NBA contract. The Rockets don’t have cap space to spare and need to find diamonds in the rough. McRae is low risk and could potentially garner a high reward.

Next: Free Agent: No.2