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Rockets backup center Greg Smith sent down to NBA D-League

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After being replaced by Cole Aldrich in the rotation, Greg Smith has been sent down to the D-League.

Greg Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In recent weeks, Greg Smith has been slowly losing minutes and now has been replaced in the rotation by Cole Aldrich. Rather than leave the athletic big toiling on the bench, the Rockets have opted to send him down to the D-League to work on his game, per an official team announcement.

Though his defense had definitely regressed in the dozen or so games, it still comes as quite a shock that Aldrich would replace him so quickly in the rotation. Aldrich has the stronger frame and more experience, but Smith's athleticism and ability to finish in the pick-and-roll seemed to make him the superior player at this juncture at their careers.

Perhaps there is some gamesmanship going on here with interested teams wanting to see Aldrich get real minutes to see what he could offer their team if they acquired him. Or, more likely, McHale noticed that the Rockets were completely unable to guard anyone when Omer Asik left the game and hoped that Aldrich would be an upgrade over Smith.

Whatever the case may be, it's obvious that backup center is an area of extreme need right now. If Morey is going to make a small move, I'd imagine that a center to spell Asik would be very high on his wishlist. Just after "power forward that can grab a rebound."