Houston Rockets: Can David Nwaba be the team’s next Jeff Green?

David Nwaba (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
David Nwaba (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets found a hidden gem when they signed Jeff Green last season. Could David Nwaba have a similar trajectory?

Jeff Green‘s NBA career seemed all but over before the Houston Rockets took a chance on him this season. The move more than paid off for both sides, as his game perfectly fit with the team’s needs. In another low-risk move, the Rockets’ signing of David Nwaba this season could lead to lightning striking twice.

Nwaba has been on a similar path as Green leading to his signing with Houston. Green had bright moments with his last few teams but couldn’t make a lasting impression to ink a longer deal. Through 18 games with Houston this season, Green averaged 12.2 points on 56.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.4 percent accuracy from the outside.

In the playoffs, Jeff improved his outside shooting even more, burying 42.6 percent of his shots. His 11.6 points per game were also the most he’s averaged in a single playoffs since his Boston days in 2012-13.

At age 27, David Nwaba is just getting started with his NBA career. After a promising start to 2019-20 in which he was shooting 42.9 percent from beyond the arc with the Brooklyn Nets last year, Nwaba suffered an Achilles tear that ended his season after just 20 games. As a result, he was waived this past January and wasn’t picked up until Houston signed him in June.

What David Nwaba can bring to the Houston Rockets

The similarities to Jeff Green don’t just stop at the longball. Nwaba has shown exceptional athleticism on the court, which is something you just can’t teach. It’s unknown how much his recent injury will put a damper on that, but if he’s anything close to his form during a short 2017 stint with the Lakers, that would be a huge benefit for Houston.

Nwaba has also shown he’s capable of playing well defensively, making the 2017 NBA D-League All-Defensive Team with the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Given he’s another member of the 6-foot-8-and-under club, he’ll need to be active on that end of the floor to earn his minutes on a team that can’t afford to allow easy buckets.

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According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic (subscription required), David Nwaba’s injury rehab appears to be going well, and he’s expected to have a key role with the Rockets next season. He has all the tools needed to succeed in Houston. Now it’s up to the Rockets to maximize his potential.