Celtics give Rockets perfect target to sign following latest move

2023 NBA Summer League - Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder
2023 NBA Summer League - Houston Rockets v Oklahoma City Thunder / Allen Berezovsky/GettyImages

In case you've been under a rock, the Houston Rockets have a dire need for a backup big man. The team signed Jock Landale in the offseason to alleviate this need and he's simply not amounted to much of anything.

To the point that he's been removed from Ime Udoka's rotation, in favor of Jeff Green, who has surprisingly played stellar for the franchise. This likely won't continue throughout the remainder of the season, as 37-year-old role players don't generally morph into formidable contributors.

Fortunately for the Rockets, they don't exactly need to rely on Green to fill this void, as the Boston Celtics made life much easier for them following their latest roster move on Tuesday.

At 6'8 and 253 pounds, Nathan Knight would bring much needed size to a relatively smaller Rockets group. Granted, I understand if there are reservations due to his size, as the Rockets have done the whole tweener thing many times in the past (Bruno Fernando, Daniel Theis, and even PJ Tucker several years ago).

However, Jeff Green has proven that a small ball center to thrive just fine.

The Rockets should move swiftly to shore up their biggest need.

The 26-year-old Knight presents versatility to play either power forward or center, but would likely play center for the Rockets. 

Maybe you'd like to know why he's played for four franchises in four seasons. In Atlanta, Knight was a fairly good player. He had 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 from long-range, three rebounds in 8 minutes in his second game. He just didn't get much of an opportunity (not even a minute per contest in each of the next five games).

Knight played three more games for the Hawks, in which he earned viable playing time (at least 20 minutes of action). The result? 

14.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 65.2 percent shooting, with two of those games coming against the Rockets. 

Knight went to the Minnesota Timberwolves and failed to land a significant role. However, he made enough of an impression for the Wolves to bring him back for a second engagement in 2022-23, as he averaged 18.6 points, 11.5 rebounds, and three assists per 36 minutes.

However, he found himself buried behind Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Naz Reid, Matt Ryan, and Luka Garza.

When he was granted playing time he made 56.8 percent of his shots, 36.4 percent of his threes (on a very small sample size of .6 attempts per contest).

All told, he still averaged 17.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes.

When Knight was afforded the opportunity (20 minutes or more), he averaged 14.3 points and 61.9 percent from the floor (3 games).

In the 10 games in which he played 10 or more minutes, he averaged 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.

Knight brings and infectious level of energy and a scrappy level of play, which has especially been useful on the offensive glass (3.5 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes throughout his career). 

For a Rockets team in need of a backup big, it would be wise to take a flier on Knight, who simply hasn't had the opportunity to develop.