Houston Rockets: Rafael Stone is using Daryl Morey’s playbook

General Manager Neil Olshey of the Portland Trail Blazers and General Manager Rafael Stone of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
General Manager Neil Olshey of the Portland Trail Blazers and General Manager Rafael Stone of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Christian Wood #35 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets: Rafael Stone is signing smart

One of the overlooked abilities that Daryl Morey possessed was his ability to snag undervalued players in free agency. Big-name free agents are what draws the most attention but how a general manager rounds out the roster is of significant importance.

Stone has shown that he learned those lessons by signing Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate, and Mason Jones all this offseason. Each player has a different tale but they were all undervalued players that look to have bright NBA futures.

Houston Rockets: Christian Wood

The best move of the offseason has to be the Rockets signing of Christian Wood. The 25-year-old center was signed to a three-year $41 million contract.

If he were to be a free agent this offseason he would likely land a deal with a guarantee of over $100 million. To put the value of the contract in perspective, over three seasons the Rockets will pay him as much as John Wall is set to make this year.

Stone should be lauded for securing an All-Star caliber player in their prime for such a small investment. Wood’s production has been immense and his value in trade would be sky high as well.

He could be the cornerstone of the franchise in the coming years or be used to bolster their stock of assets and young talent if they decide to go the route of a full-on rebuild. For most general managers signing Christian Wood would be their magnum opus, but for Stone, it was just his opening act.

Houston Rockets: Jae’Sean Tate

Rafael Stone struck gold again with his signing of Jae’Sean Tate from Australia’s National Basketball league. The rookie has impressed on the defensive end and with his ability to finish around the rim.

While he is not destined for an All-Star birth, he has been a crucial role player for the Rockets this year and has shown considerable defensive potential. It needs to be remembered that Tate was a four-year college player who played professionally in Belgium before becoming a star in the National Basketball League.

Players with his resume hardly ever make it to the NBA, let alone a dent in it but that didn’t deter Stone one bit. His combination of athleticism, size, and length plays anywhere and the Rockets have landed a true contributor for a guaranteed total of $50,000.

Through his play, there’s almost no chance that he doesn’t see the full $4.7 million that he can earn, which is a fantastic story in its own right. International basketball is the strongest it has ever been and the Rockets did their homework and found a true gem in the land down under.

Houston Rockets: Mason Jones

Mason Jones has become something of a cult figure here at Spacecityscoop and it’s well deserved. The undrafted free agent has provided an offensive spark off of the bench and his two-way contract appears to be on a one-way flight to the city of Houston.

The Rockets’ and Stone were smart to gamble on a player like Jones because of his late-blooming basketball career. Jones’ story plays out like a feature article for Sports illustrated, he didn’t play organized basketball until his senior year of high school.

He then dropped nearly 60 pounds while essentially taking a gap year before he went to a junior college. From there he made it to the University of Arkansas where he starred in the South Eastern Conference.

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Jones has come a long way and improved considerably since he was an18 year old, which makes him the type of player who might have more untapped potential than your usual 22 year old prospect. So far he is making Rafael Stone look like a smart man as he continues to add fresh faces to his ever-growing fan club.