Sam Dekker, in his second taste of the NBA, played a shade under 29 minutes, scoring 12 points (5-10 shooting), grabbed 4 rebounds and also threw an assist for good measure.
"I thought Sam is getting a little more comfortable, he’s just got to relax slow down and let the game come to him," head coach Kevin McHale said of Dekker's night Wednesday "he made a three which was good to see, got to the line a couple times, I thought overall for Sam it’s just going to take a while"
Dekker is playing power forward for the Rockets right now with so many injuries at the four, and while it's an unfamiliar position for him, he is holding his own.
Dekker spent Wednesday chasing around Charlie Villanueva, and while Villanueva isn't Karl Malone or Dirk Nowitzki he's not completely chump change either.
Villanueva was limited to 10 points (4-9 shooting) but he did have some open threes and that's where McHale did offer a little nugget for Dekker to work on.
"He’s got to learn how to close guys like Charlie out tighter. Villanueva is very good three-point shooter," McHale said.
Dekker after the game shared that defense is the area he is trying to improve on the most during the preseason.
"I want to show I can give meaningful minutes with the first and second groups and not lack in any principals on the defensive end," Dekker said.
He acknowledged that he was more of a wing player in college so learning how to play power forward is still something he's growing into, but he also understand if there's a need — right now the Rockets are short so many power forwards —he has to fill it.
"Someones got to fill in and step in," Dekker said. "If I want to get minutes I have to be able to step in when needed, even after two games I feel much more comfortable there, will see how it goes when we get (to play) some bigger guys."
The more Dekker plays, the more comfortable he will get, and with so many fours injured right now it could help him learn so much faster. In practice and in games Dekker goes from far down the depth chart to now pretty much the prime backup. Getting more reps is can only mean good things for his development.
We all know Dekker can play the wing and score, but if he can shoot threes and play defense on fours it just opens up so many more uses for him on this team.