Houston Rockets DeMarcus Cousins replacement #4: Dragan Bender
While Kenny Wooten is right around the corner, Dragan Bender is half-way around the world. After disappointing in the NBA, Bender is now playing professionally overseas in Israel for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
So why should the Rockets be interested in a player who couldn’t cut it in the NBA their first go-around? Looking back at Bender’s career it is clear that he never got an extended run in a situation that fit his skill set. Selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Phoenix Suns he struggled while playing out of position.
Bender was used primarily as a power forward by the Suns but has performed at his best when being deployed as a small-ball center. His shot-making ability was supposed to be his calling card coming out of the draft but Bender’s stroke has been inconsistent in the NBA.
However, he has shown an ability to be reliable from the corners and he is still only 23-years-old. Some players take longer to develop than others and a player doesn’t get selected fourth in a draft for no reason, it means they have talent.
Bender will be cheap to sign and depending on his contract with Maccabi Tel Aviv he could cost the Rockets next to nothing in guarantees. If the Rockets want to take a flier on a talented player that fits their offensive ideology they could do a lot worse than Bender.