3 reasons why the Rockets' early Summer League success shouldn't be ignored

Anthony Duckett
Jalen Green (G League Ignite) Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Green (G League Ignite) Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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Houston Rockets
Team Spain power forward Usman Garuba Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports / Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

3. The Houston Rockets haven't had Usman Garuba yet

Part of the reason why the Houston Rockets' offense has been such a breath of fresh air in Vegas is because the defense has been near middle of the pack. In fact, the Rockets have ranked 11th in defensive efficiency, which is a bit of a drop off from their top-ranked offensive efficiency.

In addition, the Rockets have allowed opponents to score 83.5 points, which ranks 11th in the Summer League. The Rockets have gotten strong play on both ends from Alperen Sengun, who leads the Summer League in blocks.

The Rockets' defensive rankings and early 2-0 start is impressive, because they haven't had Spain's Usman Garuba with the team. Garuba initially spent time with Spain in the Olympics and recently jumped aboard a plan, to join the Rockets in Vegas.

The presence of Garuba will drastically improve the Rockets' Summer League defense, as he was described by Houston Rockets GM Rafael Stone as the best defender in the world who isn't playing in the NBA. Draft scouts also dubbed him as the best defender in the 2021 draft class, which should strike fear in opposing offenses.

Garuba is a stellar pick-and-roll defender, and is a very switchable defender, as he has the ability to defend both guards and wings. It's safe to say that his presence on the Rockets' Summer League team will have a major impact on their defense overall, but their early 2-0 start has been impressive without him.

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