In the Houston Rockets’ first-round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Sam Dekker was injured and was not able to play.
Dekker's been rehabbing from surgery on his left hand that he fractured at the beginning on the month, and now it seems like he is ready for a return.
Friday, Dekker told the media that he was back, baby.
"I'll be available," Dekker said when asked if he'll be back for Game 1. "I'll be ready to go whenever coach calls my name."
Sam Dekker (@Dekker) says he's ready for game one against the Spurs. Practicing today for first time since fracturing left hand. #Rockets pic.twitter.com/oRXjOzUfj8— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) April 28, 2017
Against the Thunder, the bench was key in three of the team's four wins, and throughout the regular season, Dekker was a part of the Rockets’ deep bench.
Now with Dekker healthy, will he get any run in Mike D'Antoni's playoff rotation?
Montrezl Harrell, like Dekker, was a big part of the team's regular season rotation but in the playoffs, D'Antoni chose to just roll with Clint Capela and Nene.
While Harrell was left on the outside looking in, Dekker could find himself getting playing time. Unlike Harrell, who just plays one position, Dekker can back up both Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson.
During the Thunder series, the Rockets just rolled with a lot of three-guard lineups; with Ariza playing heavy minutes, he struggled, shooting 34 percent from the field, playing 38 minutes a game.
Having Dekker steal a few minutes to give Ariza a rest just might help him be a little more effective.
Against the Thunder, Russell Westbrook was a beast to deal with, and while Ariza didn't cover him all game long, his next assignment will be even harder. He'll be asked to smoother the San Antonio Spurs‘ Kawhi Leonard from bell to bell.
Having Ariza as fresh as possible will help him for when Leonard goes on his massive fourth quarter tears. During the Memphis Grizzlies series, Leonard shot 68.9% from the field and 80% from three in the fourth. A rested Ariza might help contain... no, limit... no, make it harder on him. Yup, that's about as best the Rockets can hope for.
If the Rockets wanted to go really small against the Spurs, they can with Dekker. One of the team's best lineups during the regular season they haven't been able to use cause Dekker has been hurt.
The lineup of Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Dekker, and Capela had a +17.6 net rating, making it the Rockets third most successful combo.
Dekker on the year wasn't amazing, but he was a solid rotation player. While his absence during the Thunder series wasn't very noticeable, not playing him against the Spurs would be a mistake.
With that said, the 18 minutes agame he got during the regular season won't happen. Dekker would likely see around 5-10 minutes a game, if any, depending on how much he contributes when he is on the floor.
During the regular season, the Rockets were +3.9 when Dekker was on the floor, and if they can get that same production again against the Spurs, it will go a long way to helping pull off an upset.