Houston Rockets add N'Faly Dante on two-way contract

Does N'Faly Dante have a future with the Houston Rockets?
Does N'Faly Dante have a future with the Houston Rockets? / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The second round of the NBA Draft is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Technically, it might be there - but that's a lot of hay to sift through in pursuit of one needle.

What about players who go undrafted? Well, they don't have a rich history of contributing to NBA teams. With that said, the hit rate is comparable to the second round. Once you move out of the top 20 or so, let's be honest - nobody knows what they're doing.

The Houston Rockets traded their lone second-round pick for AJ Griffin this year. If they wanted to pick up another young talent, they'd have to offer a two-way contract to an undrafted player:

And that's exactly what they did.

Houston Rockets land defensive big

Ladies and gentleman, meet N'Faly Dante.

Well, he looks the part. The numbers suggest that Dante has an NBA future, too. He averaged 17.0 ppg, 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.7 steals while shooting 69.5% from the field for the Oregon Ducks last year. At 6'11" with a 7'6" standing reach, Dante has the potential to be a strong defensive big at the professional level.

Why wasn't he drafted? Dante tore his ACL during the 2020-21 college basketball season. He's spent five years at Oregon trying to recuperate his draft stock. Despite his production, it didn't work.

Should the Rockets bet on him turning it around in Houston?

Houston Rockets make low-stakes acquisition

Dante is on a two-way contract. If he plays a minute of basketball for the Rockets this year, it'll be due to injuries.

More likely, he'll ply his trade with the Rio Grande Vipers. The Rockets will keep an eye on his progress. Who knows? He could be a long-term backup for Alperen Sengun.

He's a player with an intriguing skill set. Dante isn't an especially versatile defender, but he could be a dominant rim protector. His soft touch around the basket should make him an efficient play-finisher on the offensive end as well.

He just might - if you'll pardon the pun - move the needle.