It's well-known that the Houston Rockets are in dire need of a big man. Jeff Green's 16 minutes is proof of that, as he was supposed to be just a locker room guy.
Green has played well, as he's turned back the clock, but he's received his workload due to the mistake that was Jock Landale, who was never in the Rockets' free agency plans, as they thought they'd be able to reel in Brook Lopez (fortunately they didn't, because Alperen Sengun wouldn't have emerged into the star that we've seen this year if he wasn't starting).
Then they thought they'd be able to nab Dwight Powell, who stayed with the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets, by all accounts, are planning on addressing this need within the next several weeks before the NBA trade deadline.
However, they may be on the verge of making yet another mistake, based on the latest report from Eric Pincus of the Bleacher Report.
"The Houston Rockets, looking for a backup big, could target Nick Richards of the Hornets...."
Let's first acknowledge one thing: any addition would be an improvement over Landale. That's a given.
For that reason, many are excited about the possibility of Richards. Not to mention the likely low cost that it would take to reel him in.
Rockets should pass on Nick Richards.
But there's a reason for that. For starters, Richards isn't a high IQ player at all. There are far too many sequences where he gets an offensive rebound and unwisely goes for the putback, instead of simply feeding it to the open man.
In addition, he takes ill-advised shots early in the shot clock, when there are oftentimes open shooters behind the 3-point line, which would be a higher percentage shot. Granted, you can chalk this up to the Hornets' lack of viable shooters and the lack of motion on offense.
He also has hands of stone. Perhaps I'm being too harsh.
Maybe a change of scenery would help.
On the other end, although he has potential to be a shot blocker, he also has defensive lapses quite regularly. We just saw him get dominated by Victor Wembanyama and Domantas Sabonis.
Sure, those are two uber-talented bigs, but if the Rockets pursue him with hopes of him slowing down opposing bigs and he's unable to, doesn't that defeat the purpose? Part of the issue is that he doesn't respond well to physical play, despite standing 7-foot-tall.
Oh, and there's also this.
Again, maybe being united with Ime Udoka could help. And I know he's still young (26-years-old) and may have been hindered with poor coaching and a seemingly bad culture in Charlotte.
And his contract seems to make him more appealing (3 years and $15 million owed, with the final year non-guaranteed). Those are the positives.
But the Rockets would seemingly be better off nabbing Bismack Biyombo, who is a better rebounder, a much more proven defender, and is only five years older than Richards. And his contract expires at the end of the season.