#4 Best Houston Rocket: David Nwaba
Of all the injuries that the Rockets have had to suffer through, the wrist injury that effectively ended David Nwaba‘s season has to rank among the most impactful. Nwaba isn’t a superstar but he’s an excellent defensive player that knows his role on offense.
Nwaba is set to become a free agent this offseason but the Rockets should work hard to keep him in the fold. His ability to cover the best wing scorers in the league is an increasingly valuable skill and he impacts winning in a way the boxscore doesn’t pick up.
Before Nwaba went out with injury, he featured in 30 of the Rockets’ first 37 games where the team posted a 112.2 defensive rating. Since he went down the Rockets’ defensive rating has ballooned to 119.4.
Nwaba’s absence isn’t the only reason the Rockets’ defense tanked but when he was on the court they managed to post a defensive rating of 110.5. While defense is his calling card, Nwaba manages to make his limited offensive profile work by taking the right kinds of shots.
As a non-shooter, Nwaba eschews the mid-range and does most of his damage within 10 feet of the basket. He endured a horrible season shooting the 3-ball, only converting 27-percent of his attempts and 20.7-percent of his corner threes.
Nwaba is not a sharpshooter but it is almost impossible for him to shoot any worse from 3-point range than he did this season. With all the value he provides on defense, if he’s anywhere near average as a 3-point shooter he becomes one of the most valuable rotation players in the NBA.
Nwaba was great for the Rockets this year and he left a fair amount on the table. The Rockets should make him one of their chief priorities this offseason. He’s a winning player. After losing the most games in the league, he’s exactly the type of player the franchise needs.