The RGV-Houston shuttle has dropped off a couple more passengers today. Clint Capela and Nick Johnson have been recalled from the Rockets' D-League affiliate, the team announced today.
Capela, the Rockets' first pick in last summer's draft, is back for the fourth time with the big league club, while second-rounder Johnson is back for the third time.
With only two games remaining until the All-Star Break, it's likely that the two youngsters are in Houston mainly for practice reps - although with the two games coming back-to-back, there is an outside chance one or both of them could get a stray minute or two.
Both Capela and Johnson are putting up gaudy numbers for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, feasting on the lesser competition and the uptempo offensive system in RGV. Capela's averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks a game, and Johnson has put up 19.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.4 steals.
Clint would be the fifth big man off the bench for Kevin McHale, behind starters Donatas Motiejunas and Joey Dorsey and primary reserves Josh Smith and Terrence Jones. His role is pretty well-defined. It's Nick Johnson who provides a bit of intrigue.
Isaiah Canaan was a valuable role player for the Rockets when Patrick Beverley was hurt early in the year, but he has been barely a rumor in his current stint with the team (he's been on the RGV shuttle a couple of times this year as well). So Johnson's call-up calls into question who the next point guard off the bench would be behind Jason Terry (who is so not a point guard, but that's how McHale wants it).
Canaanball has demonstrated a decent three-point shot, but Johnson has the edge in athleticism, and neither of them are pro-level passing point guards yet. It's a long shot that either of them will get minutes anytime soon, but I woudn't be too surprised if Johnson leapfrogs Canaan should the moment arise.
That being said, free Lil' Sip.