Houston Rockets quarter season report card 

N.B. Lindberg
Atlanta Hawks v Houston Rockets
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Bench Floor Spacer. . Garrison Mathews. B

Garrison Mathews is a divisive player on Rockets’ Twitter, but he shouldn’t be. He’s a bench floor spacer. His job is to come in and jack up contested threes. If they go in, great. If they don’t, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re contested, and he’s hitting 37.3% of his threes for good measure. 

Floor spacing and shooting gravity are about volume. Mathews brings the volume from three (12.6 3-point attempts per 100 possessions) and adds the cherry on top by being one of the best players in the NBA at drawing offensive fouls. He is second on the team in offensive fouls drawn at 9. Alperen Sengun leads the team with 10 in over double the minutes. 

F. Backup point guard. . Daishen Nix

Daishen Nix doesn’t look like an NBA player. He’s averaging 3.2 points, 2.2 assists, and 1.4 turnovers per game. I’m not saying I could do that in 15 minutes per game, but I am saying that there are probably 60 guys in the G-League who easily could. 

The only thing keeping him afloat is his 40% 3-point shooting, but it is being offset by 23.5% shooting on 2-pointers. Nix simply isn’t an NBA-quality athlete, and it shows up all the time. His margin for error is minuscule, and he’s far too mistake-prone. As soon as TyTy Washington Jr. is healthy, I expect Nix to either be buried next to Boban on the bench or leading the Rio Grande Vipers in their title defense. 

Mobile Center. . Usman Garuba. B+

Usman Garuba had a lost rookie season, but his sophomore effort is playing out just how his prospect pedigree predicted. Garuba has been awesome as a mobile big capable of protecting the rim and staying in front of guards. Some considered him the best defensive prospect in the 2021 draft, and he’s making those folks look keen. 

The only thing keeping Garuba from an A is he is a non-factor on offense. Yes, I know he’s shooting 77.8% on threes, but he has taken nine in 18 games, and defenses leave him so wide open he has time to load up his trebuchet jumper. Garuba doesn’t need to be a floor spacer, but he needs to add something on offense outside of looking for a pass. A moderately improved handle could see him become a Draymond Green-esque player.