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Rockets 2017-18 player previews: Luc Mbah a Moute

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Another new face for Houston.

NBA: Preseason-Shanghai Sharks at Houston Rockets Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Luc Mbah a Moute \BAH-ah MOO-tay\ is a Houston Rocket. Unless you are an NBA diehard, you might not know who Mbah a Moute is, but he’s one of the best kept secrets in the NBA.

Mbah a Moute was drafted in the second round in 2008 by the Milwaukee Bucks out of UCLA. He was a starter on the team that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love led to the Final Four. He has had stints with the Bucks, Kings, Timberwolves, 76ers, and most recently, the Chris Paul-led Clippers.

Mbah a Moute started 144 games for the Clippers in the last two seasons, including all seven games of Los Angeles’s series against the Jazz this spring. He was the forgotten man in one of the league’s best starting units the last two seasons that featured Paul, J.J. Redick, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan.

Mbah a Moute had one of the best plus-minus stats in the league last season. The team scored 264 more points with the Cameroonian forward on the floor than they did with him off the floor. A large part in that was his supporting cast, but Mbah a Moute did his part as well.

LMaM is 6-8, 230 forward who can play either forward spot. He is known as a three-and-D guy who can knock down 39.1% of his threes like he did last year and a guy who can guard any position 2-5. Expect him to be a primary defender on the wing next to P.J. Tucker in the second unit.

Mbah a Moute can defend top-notch scorers (Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony) on opponents and is not a guy you can overlook.

He never lets a shot go uncontested, and will try to force the ball out of the main guy’s hands. This is usually Trevor Ariza’s responsibility in the first unit, and it will remain his responsibility.

However, a place where this team has needed to improve in the past was finding an appropriate backup for Ariza. He did not have a proper backup last year and he played 34.7 MPG in his age-31 season. As Ariza ages, reducing his minutes will help out in a big way. Mbah a Moute can eat up those minutes.

LMaM will make a big impact for this team, and he is only making the minimum this season. He is going to prove to be one of this free agency period’s biggest bargains.