The Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors have reportedly been engaged in trade talks that would send Norman Powell to Houston and Victor Oladipo to a third team with other assets and players headed to Toronto. While the deal may end up being too complicated to complete, Norman Powell is the exact type of player that the Houston Rockets need.
The Rockets have the league’s worst offensive rating and a large reason for that is their league-worst 3-point shooting. As the NBA has trended to more 3-point attempts a team’s offense lives and dies by its 3-point proficiency.
Houston Rockets: Norman Powell is an elite sharpshooter
Norman Powell has been a quality player for a few seasons now, but this season his 3-point shooting and game have gone to another level. For the season, Powell is shooting 43.3-percent on 6.5 3-point attempts to the tune of 19.5 points per game.
For much of the previous two seasons, Powell has been a crucial bench player for the Raptors, but since being made a full-time starter on January 22nd, he has seen his shooting and scoring improve tremendously. In the 27 games since becoming a starter, Powell has averaged 23.6 points on 44.4-percent 3-point shooting and 52.3-percent shooting from the field.
Houston Rockets: The reason for the Rockets’ horror season
The Rockets’ horror season has had many culprits, from trades to injuries, but the single greatest culprit has been their poor 3-point shooting. As a percentage of their overall field goal attempts, the Rockets take the fourth-highest percentage of their shots from 3-point range but have been the worst 3-point shooting team in the league by a wide margin.
The Rockets’ 32.8-percent 3-point shooting is a full 1.4-percent worse than the next worst 3-point shooting team the Cleveland Cavaliers. While this appears like a small gap, it’s the same gap between the Cavaliers in 29th and the Orlando Magic in 20th.
Needless to say, Norman Powell would instantly inject some life into the Rockets’ putrid 3-point shooting and help drag them out of the basement. The Rockets might be a bad shooting team but they actually take a lot of high-value shots.
The team takes the ninth most corner threes and the sixth most shots three feet and closer to the rim, which are the two most valuable shots. Where they’ve been undone is that they simply haven’t been able to convert those shots at an efficient rate.
Houston Rockets: Why Norman Powell is a perfect fit
Adding Powell to the rotation should help their 3-point shooting and as a result, will free up space around the rim to make everyone’s life much easier. The only issue with acquiring Powell is that he is likely to be headed to free agency this summer.
Powell has a player option for $11.6 million for the 2021-22 season that he will almost certainly decline. The Rockets would need to convince him that staying in Houston long-term is the right option and that could be a hard sell for a team with a bottom three record in the league.
However, an offense built around Christian Wood, John Wall, and Norman Powell is a strong core to build around as it has all the ingredients to be at least a league-average offense. Wood is one of the most offensively gifted big men in the league, Wall still can create for himself and others, and Powell has shown to be a tremendous floor spacer.
With the right additions in the offseason, the Rockets could see a massive turnaround in year two under Stephen Silas. The NBA is a make or miss league and the Rockets simply have missed too much to be competitive this season.
However, with Norman Powell in the fold and Christian Wood around for a full season, the Rockets will start making a whole lot more shots. When the shots start falling the Rockets will once again look like a competent team, and Norman Powell is exactly the type of player the franchise needs.