Houston Rockets’ top-5 Free agency needs #4: Wing defense
There seems to be one constant in the NBA, teams can never have enough wing defense. Bringing back David Nwaba on a multi-year deal could solve this problem in one fell swoop but even that might not be enough.
Nwaba has been injury-prone the past two seasons and only featured in 50 of a possible 144 games. The Rockets reported interest in Justise Winslow indicates that they’re aware of this need as well.
With the news that Kawhi Leonard has opted out, would the Rockets look to pursue one of the league’s best two-way players even as he recovers from ACL surgery? It’s unlikely that Kawhi, in the middle of his prime, would head to a rebuilding team, but it might make more sense than you realize. Kawhi, optimistically, will be out for most of the upcoming season. How good the team is in 2021-22 is of little importance to him.
With a year of development for the Rockets' young core, the continued improvement of Christian Wood, another high draft pick, and Kawhi in town the Rockets could be serious contenders in 2022-23. They have all of the Brooklyn Nets draft picks to use in a trade and could easily make a move for a disgruntled superstar to pair with Kawhi, Wood, and Green.
Chances are Kawhi re-signs with the Clippers, but dreaming of a superstar acquisition is the point of free agency. The Rockets need to try to re-sign David Nwaba and if they fail to do that they’ll need to work hard to land some more wing defense because Jae’Sean Tate can’t do it alone.