Rockets: Players that could replace Christian Wood — 7. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
At just 26-years-old, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson still oozes with potential and can be very productive for this Rockets team. Hollis-Jefferson was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves at the start of the season but was released after the preseason concluded, although he played fairly well, posting averages of 7.7 points on just 11.7 minutes per game.
At 6-foot-6, RHJ can operate as a small ball five and possesses the versatility to play either forward spot, which is his natural position. Through three preseason games this season RHJ flashed offensive efficiency, as he made 88.9 percent of his shots, which would figure to increase alongside a pure point guard like John Wall, which RHJ has never played alongside.
RHJ isn’t a 3-point shooter by any stretch of the imagination, which isn’t exactly optimal from a floor spacing perspective, but his defensive tenacity would fit in perfectly for a Rockets team that prides itself on clamping down opponents. Over the last four seasons, RHJ has averaged 1.98 defensive win shares, which is an estimate of how many wins a player contributed due to their defense.
Just last season RHJ averaged two defensive win shares, which is higher than former Rockets forward Robert Covington, who averaged 1.2 defensive win shares in Houston last season. It’s also nearly equal to that of Paul George (2.3) and Houston Rockets fan favorite P.J. Tucker (2.4).
RHJ possesses a unique skillset, in that he has a 7-foot-2 wingspan and spent time last season defending each position on the court. In addition, RHJ finished inside of the top-25 in small forwards in 2019-20 in Defensive Real Plus Minus, despite playing a minimal role on the Raptors.
We’re also not far removed from RHJ’s 2017-18 campaign, in which he averaged 13.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, while posting a player efficiency rating of 16.9, which is better than the league average of 15, and posting true shooting splits of 54.8 percent.
Not bad for someone who could be added off the scrap heaps, right?
Next: No. 6