Houston Rockets- Rafael Stone’s best moves as general manager
#4 The free-agent signings of Jae’Sean Tate and Mason Jones
Under Morey, the Houston Rockets did not put an emphasis on young and undrafted free agents. Often opting to go big or go home in free agency and trades with the Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul transactions being notable examples.
Not too many chances were taken on unproven talent and playing time was even harder to come by for these players under former coach Mike D’Antoni. With Morey and D’Antoni out and Stone and Stephen Silas in, the Rockets have a whole new outlook on the wide wonderful world of untapped potential.
Starting with Jae’Sean Tate who went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft, spent a season playing in Australia where he became a top player, then found himself on the Rocket’s radar this off-season, and landed a roster spot. Tate immediately received playing time, getting over 37 minutes on the court in his first NBA regular-season game, an astonishing stat for an undrafted free agent.
Tate has played spectacular defense and contributed to the team’s high defensive rating with 16 blocks and 18 steals in 22 games. He’s been no slouch on the offensive end either, contributing 8.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.6 assists a game.
Then there is Mason Jones who fills in the two-guard spot when John Wal is out and provides a spark for the offense when it becomes stagnant. Jones went undrafted in the most recent 2020 NBA draft but appears to be a gem.
Though it has been in a small sample size this season, Jones is giving the Rockets 6.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists a game through 13 games. This shows there is more room for improvement but it remains a steady start for the young guard. Both Stone and Rockets Head Coach Stephen Silas deserve praise for these two sleeper signings, but Stone was still the one who gave the final stamp of approval and the pair.
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