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Unfortunate Dekker Injury Shouldn’t Impact Playoff Rotation

Dekker’s unfortunate hand injury will mean more for the final games of the regular season than the playoffs.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Dekker’s hand injury scrambles the Rockets end-of-season rotation.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Dekker had successful surgery on his fractured left hand according to the Rockets. He will be reevaluated in one week with an initial estimate of him missing three to four weeks.

The former Wisconsin Badger will miss the remainder of the regular season with a questionable return for the playoffs, likely no earlier than the late second round or Western Conference Finals.

But the true impact won’t be on the Rockets playoff performance or rotation, it’s on who Houston will play in the final five games of the regular season.

In reality, Dekker fell out of the Rockets rotation ten games ago. The arrival of Lou Williams, a decline in Dekker’s shooting and D’Antoni’s interest in going with smaller lineups had already led to a significant reduction in playing time.

Before Ryan Anderson’s injury Dekker’s playing time had fallen to single digit minutes in five out of six games directly preceding Anderson’s injury.

After Anderson’s injury Dekker’s minutes rapidly advanced to a level over his 17 minute per game average.

Sam Dekker’s MP Game Log

Game Number Opponent MP Anderson?
Game Number Opponent MP Anderson?
66 @CHI 18:15 Yes
67 CLE 5:02 Yes
68 LAL 18:35 Yes
69 @NOP 4:40 Yes
70 @DEN 7:44 Yes
71 DEN 5:05 Yes
72 NOP 6:24 Yes
73 OKC 23:52 No
74 GSW 15:14 No
75 @POR 20:29 No
76 @GSW 18:40 No
77 @PHO 19:29 No

Dekker’s playoff playing time would/will be dependent on Anderson’s health. D’Antoni is notorious for going down to an eight man rotation in the playoffs and Dekker was looking like the ‘ninth man out’ of that scenario. Naturally being behind Eric Gordon, Lou Williams and Nene/Clint Capela.

The injury is unfortunate as Dekker has proven his worth this season and will become an NBA rotation player if able to stay healthy. But in reality Dekker was unlikely to be a major factor in Houston’s playoff rotation.

Dekker will miss out on the opportunity to play significant minutes in Houston’s final games. Which is why we’ve all purchased Troy Williams jerseys, who is the big winner of NBA minutes for the final games of the NBA season, not Dekker.