Draft

Houston Rockets: Player comps for the Rockets’ 2021-22 rookie class

2021 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
2021 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot / Joe Scarnici/Getty Images
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Jayson Tatum, Usman Garuba, Houston Rockets
Basketball - Olympics: Day 11 / Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Houston Rockets' Usman Garuba rookie comp: Bam Adebayo

The chances that Usman Garuba becomes as good as Bam Adebayo are incredibly low. However, the player that Adebayo was as a rookie is nothing like the two-way force he is now. 

In Adebayo’s rookie season he averaged 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 19.8 minutes a game. His defense graded out as a plus with a 0.7 defensive box plus/minus but, Adebayo looked like a rookie on both ends of the court. 

Bam Adebayo, Kelly Oubre Jr., Andre Iguodala, Houston Rockets
Golden State Warriors v Miami Heat / Eric Espada/Getty Images

Garuba enters the NBA with a ferocious defensive reputation but a long way to go on the offensive end. His offensive upside probably isn't as high as what Adebayo has shown but he has a chance to replicate him on the defensive end. 

Fortunately, the Rockets have an excellent environment for Garuba to develop. Christian Wood is an elite offensive big and their spread-out offense should maximize his minimal offensive skillset early on.

Garuba was selected with the 23rd pick. If he ends up as a plus defender and a negative on offense, that’ll still be a win for the Rockets. Comparing Garuba to Adebayo long-term is unfair to both of them, but expecting him to replicate his rookie season is well within the realm of possibility. 

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