The NBA Transaction Window has just started and teams are already busy in the market. Some teams have been filling out the roster for the upcoming return, while others are building for next season. Houston Rockets are the latest team to join the action.
The Texas franchise has signed defensive wing David Nwaba, who was previously a free agent. He last played for the Brooklyn Nets before being waived in January 2020. He joins with a two-year deal and will directly feature next season due to an injury.
In the 20 games Nwaba played in Brooklyn, he shot 42% from three (although he just had 1.4 attempts). But Nwaba’s best quality is his defensive prowess. He may be only 6’4″, but with his 7’0″ wingspan, he can guard any position from 1-3. Despite not being the most skilled player, he’s always among the most hardworking players on the team. He has worked his way into the league after performing well in the developmental leagues before.
Since the Rockets already had 15 players on their roster, they had to cut one player to make space for Nwaba. Unfortunately for Isaiah Hartenstein, he was the sacrificial piece. With his departure, veteran Tyson Chandler is the only center remaining on the Rockets roster. This could be mean that they have firmly adopted their small-ball tactic, and it is no longer an experiment now.
After trading away their first-team center Clint Capela, the Rockets went 8-6 with their small-ball lineup, which featured Robert Covington and PJ Tucker as the power forward and center. This run included impressive wins against the Lakers, Celtics, and the Jazz. But it was also marked with shocking losses against the New York Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets.
The eight games before the playoffs begin will be a true test of this lineup. A few days back, GM Daryl Morey said in an interview that, with Russell Westbrook and James Harden in the lineup, they should go all the way. “Two of the greatest players ever on our team, we should win this thing.”
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