5 former Rockets that deserve another look in 2020-21
1. Dwight Howard
The Rockets are void of big men, as they traded Clint Capela to bring in Robert Covington, which gave them the ability to play small ball and essentially put Russell Westbrook at the center position. But the Rockets were outrebounded essentially every night, which was a problem for a team that struggled to make threes during the 2019-20 season.
The Rockets were dominated by the Los Angeles Lakers’ size in the second round, as the Lakers boast Anthony Davis, who is a 6-foot-10 dominating force. The Rockets are rumored to be on the cusp of hiring Jeff Van Gundy, who has thrived with big men on the roster. With the Rockets being without a legitimate center, they could turn to a familiar face to fill that need.
Dwight Howard signed with the Houston Rockets after playing with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2012-13, which was a shock to many. Howard left $30 million on the table to play with James Harden, in hopes of winning a title in the Space City. Although the Rockets never won a title under the Howard and James Harden pairing, they came relatively close in 2014-15, as they took the eventual champion Golden State Warriors to the Western Conference Finals.
Howard bounced around the league after leaving the Rockets in 2015, as he played for the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and Washington Wizards before finding himself in uncharted territory prior to the 2019-20 season.
Howard was a free agent and had very little interest around the league, before impressing the Los Angeles Lakers brass in a workout. Howard was signed by the Lake Show, amid concerns of him not being willing to take a backseat to the stardom that he had enjoyed upto that point.
Howard embraced the role of being a reserve with the Lakers, and made the most of the opportunity he was granted under Lakers coach Frank Vogel. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year had a career year of sorts, as he posted a true shooting percentage of 69.6 percent, which was a career-best.
In addition, Howard averaged 14.3 points and 14 rebounds per 36 minutes, which proves that he could immediately provide value for the Rockets. Howard could have other suitors across the league and it was rumored that he didn’t get along with James Harden during his time in Houston, so the Rockets could face an uphill battle if they do have interest in the eight-time All-NBA member and five-time All-Defensive team finisher.
But Howard could be inked on a veterans minimum deal, which is what the Lakers inked him to. Howard is on the cusp of winning an NBA title with the Lakers, and he could bring legitimate championship experience to a Rockets team that could clearly use it, not to mention his 6-foot-10 265 pound frame.
It remains to be seen whether Rockets GM Daryl Morey has interest in bringing Howard back to the Houston Rockets, but if so, such a move would not only work out on the court, but also financially.