Here is your 2016 Rockets Summer League Roster, playing in Las Vegas starting next weekend.
|39||Gracin Bakumanya||C||6-11||Antibes (France)/DR Congo||R|
|8||Michael Beasley||F||6-9 ½||Kansas State/USA||8|
|38||Trey Freeman||G||6-2||Old Dominion/USA||R|
|20||Gary Payton II||G||6-3||Oregon State/USA||R|
|14||Wu Guanxi||C||6-10||Shanghai Sharks/China||
The first thing that should jump out at you is the fact that MICHAEL BEASLEY IS ON THE ROSTER. Why an 8-year vet is on a summer league roster is beyond me. It is so bewildering that I cannot really come up with a logical explanation or a good joke about it. Maybe he is trying to usurp Bo Outlaw's position as the best summer league player ever? Nah, that's no good.
For what it's worth, K.J. McDaniel's name is on this roster for no reason, too. There really is no need for KJ to be playing in the summer league unless Mike D'Antoni himself is coaching — always a possibility with a first-year coach — and KJ just wants some brownie points with the new coach.
Chinanu Onuaku, Sam Dekker, and Montrezl Harrell all have guaranteed roster spots, and they will probably be the players with the most usage. Wiltjer, Payton, Taylor all have partially guaranteed contracts, so it is safe to assume we will be seeing a lot of them as well. Of this bunch, Taylor and Dekker are the two guys I find interesting
Dekker needs to show his progress after essentially a lost rookie season. His NBA potential has always been somewhat ambiguous to me. What consistent skills does he possess? What position does he play? Barring injuries, this would really be the first pro-level competitive action we see of Sam Dekker in quite a while. I honestly have no clue how he'll look.
Isaiah Taylor plays a style very conducive to summer league success, meaning he controls the ball well with excellent ability to create his own shots, but at the same time, summer league success rarely translates into NBA success. How will Taylor function when more of the offensive prerogative will be getting Dekker, Harrell, and maybe even KJ or B-Easy shots? I also wonder if his shooting is good enough for NBA success.
To address some of the shooting deficiencies of the two lead guards, the Rockets brought in three guards with shooting reputation in Kenny Gaines, Trey Freeman, and Melvin Johnson. Melvin Johnson tore up the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament averaging 17 points a game in front of scouts, shooting 35% from 3. If there's a dark horse to make camp in the backcourt, it'd be him.
The thing I find most interesting about this roster is the centers. Aside from second-round pick Onuaku, we also have a Chinese center that's not Zhou Qi, who last played for Yao Ming's Shanghai Sharks, an 18 year-old undrafted international prospect that's 6'11 and completely mysterious and a 7-foot tall 21-year-old college senior. Tonye Jekiri is the only guy I can tell you anything about, and all I can tell you is that he's big and he did pretty much nothing but some mediocre rebounding at the Portsmouth invitational. It's an eclectic group of giants that we have no idea if they are any good at basketball.
Also, shout out to Chris Walker. A productive year in the RGV earned him another trip to Vegas with the Rockets. He didn't show much hoops IQ last year at Vegas, but he can run fast and jump high, plus he can actually do some basketball stuff now.
Welcome to summer basketball, everybody.