ADDING DEPTH

Patrick Creighton: Rockets get just what they needed

Brandon Wright is exactly what the Rockets needed. NBA.COM

All season, I have held this to be true: After James Harden, Clint Capela is the most indispensable Rocket.

I know, I know.  You just want to jump out of your seat and scream at me, “Come on, Creight! Chris Paul? Ever hear of him?”   Believe it or not, I have, but I didn’t say who was the bigger name, bigger star, or better player, I said who was the most indispensable.  That’s why its been Capela.

It’s Capela because the Rockets haven’t had another player like him.  They didn’t have someone with his size and skill set to run the offense the same way when he wasn’t on the floor.  The high pick-and-roll with Harden and Capela has become a staple in the Rockets offense.  Capela is the team’s best rebounder and only legitimate rim protector.  Where Harden and Eric Gordon can compensate for missing Chris Paul for a while, no one on the roster can bring what Capela does on the floor.

Until now.

While most people are excited about the prospect of the Rockets signing Joe Johnson as a free agent, I’m much more excited about the team bringing on Brandan Wright.

The Rockets have needed another big man for a while, but not just any big body.  They needed someone athletic, who can finish at the basket, protect the rim, rebound, play defense, and run the floor the way Capela does.  A traditional low post big body center doesn’t fit what the Rockets do, especially offensively.

Wright is exactly that kind of athletic big who can run the floor.  With a skill set similar to Capela’s, the Rockets no longer need to change their offense when Capela is off the floor.   

While miscast in Memphis with the grind-it-out Grizzlies, he’s averaged 5 pts, 3.5 boards and a block in under 14 mins per game this season.  Previously, in a more up tempo style in Dallas, he showed more scoring production.  With the ball moving skills of Chris Paul and James Harden, it should be expected his point production would improve, but a block a game in under 14 mins?  That’s the other rim protector the Rockets needed.

While Joe Johnson is a bigger name and someone Rockets fans are likely more familiar with, Wright could very well be the more important signing.

 

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The Texans should swing for the fences. Composite image by Jack Brame.

With each passing day, the Deshaun drama thickens. It's progressed to Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeting, basically humbling himself to Deshaun.

A city that a few short weeks ago offered up mega star power across the board, has now seen James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and George Springer all depart for a variety of reasons. The impact of Deshaun leaving would be irreversible guaranteeing the Texans resting comfortably in the bottom of the AFC South for the next decade, wallowing in futility.

The saga will only intensify in two weeks should Patrick Mahomes collect another Lombard Trophy. As 2017 draft class contemporaries, Deshaun is comparing his career to #15. Another ring would place Mahomes up 2-0 in that discussion with Watson.

Perhaps the Texans should take a play from the Oilers playbook and inquire on Dabo Swinney. In the pursuit of securing the services of Warren Moon, the Oilers made a power play and secured the services of Moon's former CFL coach, Hugh Campbell. I've attended several luncheons and engagements in which Deshaun served as the keynote speaker. In many of those venues, a short video presentation would include personal greetings and feel good overtures directed to Deshaun from Dabo. The end result was Deshaun lighting up like a Christmas tree. There's a viable relationship in place there.

At the end of the day, Deshaun is a competitor. Losing DeAndre Hopkins was a major loss, but not to the degree that you might think. Deshaun still went out and threw for over 4,000 yards this season, and with a sub-par supporting cast, even pulling guys off of the practice squad in late December contests to fill out the receiving corps. The issue for Watson is trust, and culture. Hence, the recent headlines surrounding the Jets as a future home make very little sense. The Jets in 4 of their last 5 seasons have had double-digit losing seasons. Until the recent resurgence of the Browns, the Jets far and away have held the title of the "laughingstock" of the NFL.

The biggest challenge for the Texans is who could persuade Deshaun to stay? Could team President Jamey Rootes calm down the noise? It certainly won't come from Texans Ring of Honor recipient Andre Johnson. If I were Cal McNair, I would place a call to 105 Sikes Hall in Clemson, SC and ask for Dabo's office. That's as good of a place to start as any other.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome