Houston Rocket free-agent forward target #3: Isaac Bonga
Isaac Bonga could end up being an absolute steal for whatever team signs him. Listed at 6’8 with a 7-foot wingspan, Bonga has the type of length that NBA teams covet and could be an impactful multi-positional defender.
Bonga had an interesting second season before completely falling out of the rotation this season in Washington. In 2019-20, as a 20-year-old, Bonga converted 57.1-percent of his 2-pointers, 35.2-percent of his 3-pointers, and 81.2-percent of free-throw attempts.
For a 6’8 wing/forward those numbers are incredibly encouraging and his utter lack of playing time this season says more about Scott Brooks’ lack of coaching acumen and less about Bonga as a player. Players that post those types of numbers at such a young age need to get game time to fully realize their potential and 2020-21 was a lost season for a player with considerable upside.
The Rockets should be aggressive in their pursuit of Bonga, who won’t turn 22 until November, because he represents a low-cost option that has the upside to be an impact rotation player. Bonga would also benefit from playing for a rebuilding team because it offers him the runway he needs to fully develop his game.
It shouldn’t cost the Rockets much to land him and at his age, there’s a real chance that he could be a key contributor for the next great Rockets team. Bonga is a developmental piece which means he won’t have contenders knocking down his door and jacking up his price in free agency which should suit the Rockets as they have pressing needs all across the roster.
Signing Bonga is a smart use of resources for a Rockets franchise that has their eye more on 2025 than 2022. He might not help the team win much right away but long term he’s a perfect player to round out a playoff-caliber roster.