Archive for the ‘ Houston Rockets Blog ’ Category

NBA coach Jeff Bzdelik to retire

Jeff Bzdelik, a longtime coach who is currently with the Houston Rockets, is reporting hanging up his clipboard and calling it a career. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Bzdelik, 65, had been weighing whether to return for a third season on Mike D’Antoni’s staff throughout the summer, reaching his decision this weekend, an individual with knowledge of the decision said. He had been uncertain about taking on the demands and time away from family of another season.

The Rockets will shift his responsibilities throughout the coaching staff, with assistant Roy Rogers likely to lead the defense. Former Vipers coach Matt Brase had already been added to D’Antoni’s staff.

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The Houston Rockets have traded forward Ryan Anderson and guard De’Anthony Melton to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for forward Marquese Chriss and guard Brandon Knight.

“We are excited to welcome Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to Phoenix,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough. “Ryan has established himself as one of the league’s best shooters and we think he’ll be a great fit in our offensive system. De’Anthony is a talented young guard who stood out for us throughout the pre-Draft process and at the NBA Summer League.”

“We’d like to thank Brandon and Marquese for their contributions to the Suns franchise over the past few seasons. We wish them the best of luck as they begin the next chapter of their careers with the Rockets.”

Knight (6-3, 195) was originally the eighth overall pick by Detroit in the 2011 NBA Draft. In six seasons played, he has averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Knight also hit at least 100 3-pointers in five of those six seasons.

Over a three-season span from 2013-14 through 2015-16, Knight was one of 11 players to have averaged at least 18.0 points, 5.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.00 steals. James Harden and Chris Paul were two of the other players on that list.

Chriss (6-10, 240) was the eighth overall pick by Sacramento in the 2016 NBA Draft before his rights were acquired by Phoenix. He appeared in all 82 games with 75 starts in 2016-17 and earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors.

In two seasons with the Suns, Chriss averaged 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per game. He joined Kevin Durant and LeBron James as the only players under the age of 21 by February 1st of their second season to have totaled at least 1,300 points, 700 rebounds, 100 blocks, 100 steals, and 100 3-pointers made within their first two seasons.

Anderson, a 6-10, 240-pound forward, is a 10-year NBA veteran who holds career averages of 12.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while making 2.1 three-pointers per game on 38.2 percent shooting from long range. He has played in 622 career games with New Jersey (2008-09), Orlando (2009-2012), New Orleans (2012-2016) and Houston (2016-2018), in addition to 46 career playoff appearances. One of the most productive “stretch fours” in NBA history, Anderson’s 1,315 career three-pointers are the third-most ever by a player 6-10 or taller, trailing only Dirk Nowitzki and Rashard Lewis.

The 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player Award winner, Anderson is one of just two players to average at least two three-point makes per game in each of the last eight seasons, joined only by Golden State’s Stephen Curry. Last season, the 30-year-old averaged 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while making 2.0 three-pointers on 38.6 percent three-point shooting in 66 games (50 starts) to help the Rockets to a franchise record 65 wins and a berth in the Western Conference Finals.

Anderson entered the NBA after being selected by New Jersey with the 21st overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Sacramento native played two seasons collegiately at the University of California, earning First Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2007-08 after leading the conference with 21.1 points per game.

​Melton, a 6-4, 200-pound guard, was selected by the Rockets with the 46th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. The 20-year-old tied for the lead at NBA Summer League 2018 with 3.0 steals per game, in addition to averaging 16.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists. He was the only rookie, and one of just three players overall, to average at least 15 points, seven boards and four assists at NBA Summer League 2018. Melton’s best performance came on July 9 against the LA Clippers when he posted 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while making 5-of-10 three-point attempts.

Melton played one season at the University of Southern California before entering the NBA. As a freshman in 2016-17, he averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.0 blocks while leading the Pac-12 and tying a USC freshman record with 69 steals. Melton became the first freshman in all of Division I basketball to record at least 300 points, 150 rebounds, 100 assists, 60 steals and 35 blocks since Dwyane Wade did so for Marquette in 2001-02.

A native of North Hollywood, California, Melton led Crespi High School in Encino, California to back-to-back state titles in 2015 and 2016.

Rockets sign forward Bruno Caboclo

Rockets sign forward Bruno Caboclo

The Houston Rockets on Monday signed forward Bruno Caboclo, whose last name is pronounced “cuh-BO-clo.”

Caboclo (6-9, 218) was originally the 20th overall pick by Toronto in the 2014 NBA Draft. He spent his first three and a half seasons with the Raptors prior to being traded to Sacramento this past February.

Last season, the 22-year-old appeared in a total of 36 G League games while on assignment with Raptors 905 and the Reno Bighorns, averaging 14.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks. Caboclo also averaged 2.4 3-pointers made.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a trade. The Dallas Mavericks have acquired center Chinanu Onuaku (Chih-NAH-noo On-ooh-AH-koo) from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the rights to Maarty Leunen. The Mavericks will also receive cash considerations and the right to swap Golden State’s 2020 second round pick (acquired by Dallas on 7/7/16) with Houston.

Onuaku (6-10, 245) was drafted by Houston in the second round (37th overall) of the 2016 NBA Draft. In two seasons with the Rockets, he averaged 3.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 12.3 minutes in six career games (one start). In four games for Houston in the 2018 MGM Resorts Summer League in Las Vegas, he averaged 5.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 11.8 minutes per game while shooting .500 from the floor and .833 from the line.

The Lanham, Md., native played two years at the University of Louisville before declaring as an early-entry candidate in the 2016 NBA Draft. As a sophomore, Onuaku averaged 9.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.0 blocks in 24.6 minutes per game for the Cardinals and earned All-ACC Defensive Team and All-ACC Honorable Mention.

Leunen (6-9, 220) was acquired by the Mavericks from the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for two-way forward Johnathan Motley and the rights to guard Renaldas Seibutis on July 23, 2018.

Rockets re-sign center Clint Capela

The best-remaining free agent is off the market, and back where he likely belongs.

The Houston Rockets re-signed restricted free agent center Clint Capela today.

Capela has been an excellent fit on the Rockets, and the team re-sign the defensive-minded, undersized yet highly effective center if they wanted to continue as one of the very best teams in the league.

According to ESPN.com, it’s a a five-year, $90 million. And per ESPN, “had he instead signed a $4.3 million qualifying offer, he would have entered 2019 as an unrestricted free agent.”

Capela was selected by Houston with the 25th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was runner-up for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award this past season after averaging career-highs of 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.85 blocks. Capela led the league in field goal percentage (.652) while ranking eighth in rebounding and second in blocks.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “Capela had been seeking a deal similar to the contracts received by Rudy Gobert (four years, $102 million) and Steven Adams (four years, $100 million). But those deals were in 2016 when the NBA cap spike sent contracts for free agents that summer skyrocketing. His deal exceeds those for other centers this summer.”

The 24-year-old recorded 42 double-doubles in 74 games played in 2017-18 after having a total of 25 in 154 games played across his first three seasons. The Rockets were 25-2 when he scored at least 15 points, including 11-0 when he scored 20 or more. Houston was also 36-5 when Capela had at least two blocks, including 21-0 when he had three or more.

During the regular season, Capela was the first player in NBA history to have averaged at least 13.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, and 1.80 bpg in fewer than 28.0 mpg. He was also the first player to have averaged at least 12.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, and 2.00 bpg in fewer than 31.0 mpg in a single postseason.

Rockets sign Isaiah Hartenstein

Rockets sign Isaiah Hartenstein

The Houston Rockets have signed rookie forward/center Isaiah Hartenstein.

Hartenstein (7-0, 249) was the 43rd overall pick by Houston in the 2017 NBA Draft. He spent last season playing for the Rockets single-affiliation NBA G League partner, Rio Grande Valley. In 38 games with 11 starts for the Vipers, Hartenstein averaged 9.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.11 blocks in 18.7 minutes per game while shooting 57.1% from the floor.

The 20-year-old started four games for the Rockets at NBA Summer League 2018, averaging 10.3 points, a team-high 8.0 rebounds, and 2.25 blocks in 21.9 minutes per game while shooting 52.2% from the floor.

When he was 11 years old, Hartenstein moved with his family from Oregon to Germany, where his father, Florian, was playing professional basketball. Isaiah holds dual citizenship and has represented Germany in four FIBA events as well as playing for the World Select Team at the 2017 Nike Hoops Summit. He has played professionally in both Lithuania and Germany.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “the Rockets hope to sign starting center Clint Capela, who remains a restricted free agent and also have Nene, Zhou Qi and Chinanu Onuaku under contract at center. Tarik Black, the Rockets’ third center last season, is a free agent.”

Rockets sign James Ennis III

The Rockets signed free agent James Ennis III today.

The 6-foot-7, 210 pound forward was selected 50th overall by the Hawks in the 2013 NBA Draft. During the past four seasons, Ennis has played in a total of 220 games with 58 starts for Miami, New Orleans, Memphis, and most recently Detroit.

The California native began last season with Memphis before being traded to the Pistons in February. Overall during the season, Ennis averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 22.3 minutes per game while shooting 47.4% from the floor and 83.6% from the foul line.

Ennis scored in double-figures 23 times in 2017-18, including a season-high 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, for Detroit at Orlando on March 2. He recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Rockets on Oct. 23.

During the Grizzlies First Round series vs. San Antonio in the 2017 playoffs, Ennis averaged 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds while starting four of the six games. He spent the final nine games of 2015-16 with the Pelicans, averaging 15.9 points on 50.0% shooting from the floor, while also averaging 2.7 3-pointers made on 48.0% shooting.

Rockets sign Michael Carter-Williams

Michael Carter-Williams’ NBA career got off to a great start, but now he’s at a turning point and really needs to prove himself for the future. He’ll get a shot at this next season, but as a backup to aging star point guard Chris Paul, in Houston.

The Rockets yesterday signed Carter-Williams. According to ESPN.com, the deal is merely “a one-year, $1.75 million minimum contract.”

Carter-Williams (6-6, 190) was originally the 11th overall pick by Philadelphia in the 2013 NBA Draft. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, becoming the first double-digit draft pick to do so since Mark Jackson in 1987-88.

In 287 career games with 191 starts, Carter-Williams has averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.40 steals. Since entering the league in 2013-14, he is one of 10 players with at least 90 games played, including James Harden and Chris Paul, to have averaged at least 11.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, 4.0 rpg, and 1.40 spg.

The 26-year-old spent last season with Charlotte, appearing in 52 games with two starts. He played at least 18 minutes 13 times, averaging 8.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg, and 1.46 spg in those games.

The Houston Rockets have signed rookie forwards Gary Clark and Vincent Edwards. And in a related move, the team has waived guard Aaron Jackson.

Clark (6-8, 225) was eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft following his senior season at Cincinnati. He started a school record 137 games while averaging 10.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 1.3 blocks. Clark led the Bearcats in rebounding in each of his four seasons.

As a senior, Clark was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year while picking up AP Honorable Mention All-American distinction. He also earned his second straight AAC Defensive Player of the Year award.

According to Basketball-Reference, which tracks NCAA statistics back to 1992-93, Clark joined David West as the only Division I players with career totals of at least 1,400 points, 1,100 rebounds, 200 assists, 150 steals, and 180 blocks.

Edwards (6-8, 225) spent all four seasons at Purdue, where he started 127 of his 138 games played. As a senior, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while earning All-Big Ten Second team honors.

Over his final three seasons, Edwards averaged 1.4 3-pointers made on 40.9% shooting. Dating back to 1992-93, he is one of three Division I players with career totals of at least 1,600 points, 750 rebounds, 400 assists, and 170 3-pointers made.

Edwards finished his career at Middleton High School in Ohio as the school’s all-time leading rebounder and ranked second in scoring behind Basketball Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas.

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta announced yesterday that the team has picked up the fourth-year option on head coach Mike D’Antoni’s contract, taking him through the 2019-20 season. In two seasons with D’Antoni at the helm, the Rockets have recorded the second-highest winning percentage in the NBA (.732; 120-44).

“The way Mike conducts himself behind the scenes along with the results he brings, it did not take long for me to see that he is the perfect fit for our organization,” said Fertitta. “We are thrilled to have Coach D’Antoni continue to push the Rockets towards our goal of winning a championship.”

This past season, D’Antoni led the Rockets to a franchise single season record 65 wins. It marked the first time Houston posted the best record in the NBA. The Rockets also won a franchise record 31 road games, tying for the sixth-highest single season total in league history.

Houston also became the sixth team in NBA history to record three winning streaks of at least 10 games in a single season, including 17 in a row from Jan. 28 through March 7 which was the second-longest streak in franchise history.

Following his first season with the Rockets in 2016-17, D’Antoni was named NBA Coach of the Year after guiding Houston to a 55-27 mark. He became the eighth coach in league history to win multiple Coach of the Year awards, and joins Gregg Popovich as the only ones who are active.

The Rockets have set the NBA single season record for 3-pointers made in each of the past two seasons. Prior to D’Antoni’s first full season as head coach of Phoenix in 2004-05, only three teams had more than 700 3FGM in a single season. At the time, D’Antoni’s Suns posted the league’s three-highest single season totals for 3-pointers made from 2004-05 through 2006-07. This past season, 27 of the 30 teams hit at least 700 3-pointers.

Nobody said the restaurant business was easy. Here’s TMZ Sports reporting on Yelp abuse directed towards the Curry family.

Houston Rockets fans are still so bitter at being knocked out of the playoffs by the Warriors, they’ve gone to Yelp to take out their frustrations on Ayesha Curry’s new Houston restaurant.

Steph Curry’s wife is opening International Smoke in Houston in July — and a bunch of haters have already bombarded the page with anti-Warriors trash talk, as first pointed out by NBA reporter Tomer Azarly.

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Guarding James Harden is extremely difficult. He’s awesome in one-on-one situations. He can hit three-pointers in a defender’s face. And when he drives, the result is often an assist or free throws for Harden. Here’s Jazz backup guard Dante Exum discussing it, in the Houston Chronicle:

Though much has been made about Jazz reserve Dante Exum’s success when defending James Harden in Wednesday’s Game 2, Exum said it was about studying enough video to know what to expect and simply staying in front of Harden often enough to frustrate the Rockets’ star.

“It’s definitely about watching film and knowing his tendencies,” Exum said. “Everybody has tendencies and like to get to a certain place. He goes left and likes to step back. It’s just knowing when he’s doing that and what I can do to stop that.

“It’s just about me staying in front of him. I’m not going to get that charge call every time which you saw in the second half (of Game 2). As long as I stay in front of him, it’s just going to frustrate him. He’s used to getting by guys or stepping back and getting an open shot. As much as possible, I have to stay in front of him and remind him that I’m there.”

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The playoffs are all about health. Well, and winning. Okay, mostly winning. But being healthy helps with the winning. See how it all ties together? Take notes. Anyway, here’s the Houston Chronicle with a Rockets update:

Key Houston Rockets reserve forward Luc Mbah a Moute is optimistic that he will be able to play in Sunday’s Game 1 against the Utah Jazz after missing the first round due to a dislocated right shoulder.

Mbah a Moute, who suffered the injury in the Rockets’ April 10 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, is officially listed as questionable. He went through his first full practice of the playoffs on Saturday, which he hopes is the final step before being cleared to return.

Full article

Getting rest and staying healthy is a huge part of winning in the NBA playoffs. The Rockets are happy to have some time off prior to the second round. Here’s the Houston Chronicle:

Though the Rockets had played just five games since the previous break in the schedule, they did not mind getting time before the second round while the Thunder and Jazz work their way through their first-round series.

“I think it’s good,” Rockets forward Trevor Ariza said. “It will give us time to rest and give us time to work on things that we didn’t do so well. But the fact that we got it over with, it’s an encouraging thing.”

Full article

The Houston Rockets have signed free agent guard Tim Quarterman for the remainder of the season.

In a related move, the Rockets have released forward Le’Bryan Nash.

Quarterman (6-6, 190) was called-up from the NBA G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers. In 11 games with five starts, he averaged 8.9 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

As a rookie with Portland last season, Quarterman appeared in 16 games and recorded career-highs of 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in the Blazers season finale vs. New Orleans on April 12, 2017. He also averaged 11.2 points, 7.1 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 22 games played while on assignment in the G League.

Quarterman will wear #55 for the Rockets.

The Rockets’ game against the Clippers on Thursday began a stretch of games against teams that could be potential first-round matchups with the Rockets facing the Pelicans and Timberwolves Saturday and Sunday. They play the third-place Trail Blazers in Portland to complete the road trip.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, however, said he not only does not experiment in any way with postseason matchups in mind – which was not surprising because he often said teams match up with the Rockets rather than the other way around – but also does not consider regular-season games particularly useful for gathering information.

Houston Chronicle

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard/forward Joe Johnson for the remainder of the season. Johnson will wear #7 for the Rockets.

In a related move, the Rockets have waived Troy Williams.

Johnson (6-7, 240) was originally the 10th overall pick by Boston in the 2001 NBA Draft and is in his 17th NBA season. In 1,253 games with 1,090 starts, Johnson is averaging 16.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. He is one of 12 players in NBA history with at least 1,000 games played to have averaged at least 16.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.0 apg and one of three (Kobe Bryant and John Havlicek) with over 1,200.

Among active players, Johnson ranks fourth in games played, second in minutes played (43,729; 20th all-time), eighth in scoring (20,266), and sixth in 3-pointers made (1,960; 10th all-time). He has also appeared in 112 playoff games with 97 starts, averaging 16.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Johnson has been to the playoffs in each of the past 10 seasons and advanced to the Conference Semifinals six times over that span.

Johnson appeared in 32 games with three starts for Utah this season. He saw action in 78 games for the Jazz in 2016-17, and averaged 1.4 3-pointers made on 41.1% shooting, marking the second-highest percentage of his career.

The seven-time All-Star is reunited with Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni. In his final season playing for D’Antoni in Phoenix in 2004-05, Johnson averaged a career-high 2.2 3-pointers made on a career-best 47.8% shooting.

Rockets sign Brandan Wright

Rockets sign Brandan Wright

The Houston Rockets today signed free agent forward/center Brandan Wright for the remainder of the season.

Wright joins the Rockets after appearing in 27 games for Memphis in 2017-18. He will wear #32 for Houston.

Wright (6-10, 235) was originally the eighth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and is in his 10th season. In 427 career games with 62 starts, Wright is averaging 7.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and nearly a block per game, while shooting 60.7% from the floor. He would have the second-highest field goal percentage among active players if he had enough attempts to qualify.

Dating back to 2012-13, Wright is the only player in the league to have averaged at least 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.00 blocks while playing fewer than 18.0 minutes per game. Wright is also averaging 1.5 offensive rebounds per game over that span and 3.0 orpg per 36 minutes played.

Wright is a former McDonald’s All-American and was named Second Team All-ACC and ACC Rookie of the Year in his only season at North Carolina.

James Harden returns from injury

 

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The Rockets have their superstar back. James Harden returned to action Thursday in a 116-98 home win against the Timberwolves. Of course, the team also has another superstar in Chris Paul, and a scoring star in Eric Gordon. But the 31-12 squad’s success revolves primarily around the bearded one. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting on his return:

James Harden shot badly, but moved well. He played just 26 minutes, and was not happy to be limited to 10 fewer than he averages, but he played with energy. He was active and effective, getting his shot and shots for others easily, but also getting his hands on the ball on the other end. The Rockets would have no complaints with that. They assume Harden will be able to score. He would figure to be able to work the rust off his shot if his body and the rest of his game were up to it. The test was in how well he moved and how long he could play hard after missing more than two weeks and seven games with a strained hamstring. Harden likely returned more quickly that the Rockets’ expected when he was first diagnosed with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. He began that period unable to walk. He spent most of it unable to do anything related to playing basketball. If not for the current technology that allows a medical staff to measure a player’s fitness to return from an injury precisely without checking a calendar, the Rockets likely would have held Harden out for longer. With Harden ramping up workouts on the road trip, they knew he was physically ready to play. But nothing fully simulates a game. Harden made just 3 of 15 shots, but he had seven assists, two steals, two rebounds and no setbacks. The Rockets were happy with that.

Full article

The Houston Rockets made a late-night move on Monday, signing guard Markel Brown to a two-way contract.

And in a related transaction, the team waived guard Brianté Weber.

Brown (6-3, 185) joins the Rockets from the Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA G League, where he averaged 17.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals. He also averaged 2.9 3-pointers made and had nearly as many steals (31) as turnovers (33).

Following a four-year career at Oklahoma State University, Brown was the 44th overall pick by Minnesota in the 2014 NBA Draft before his rights were acquired by Brooklyn. In two seasons with the Nets from 2014-15 through 2015-16, he appeared in 109 games with 35 starts. Brown spent last season playing in Russia.

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