On Sunday, the Rockets will get their first chance to face the Warriors since the Western Conference Finals, even if the game does not mean all that much in the end.
Then, the Rockets and Clippers close out Monday’s action as the Clips get to showcase their two lottery picks, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson.
The Rockets are guaranteed a fourth game in the single-elimination tournament bracket, but that game’s time and location are TBD.
For the Rockets, it will be the first opportunity to get reps for draft picks De’Anthony Melton and Vince Edwards.
Other current Rockets that will play in Vegas are Isaiah Hartenstein, Chinanu Onuaku, Zhou Qi, as well as two-way players Gary Clark, R.J. Hunter, and Markel Brown.
Other players that have seen NBA action that will wear Rockets red in Vegas are Danuel House, who played in 23 games for the Suns last season, and Quincy Miller, who has not played in the NBA since 2015.
Another player that could see some decent run is Duke guard Trevon Duval, who was a Top 20 recruit out of high school just one year ago.
The rest of the roster is likely there to be filler spots, but in summer league, anything can happen. However, the primary focus should be placed on the players above, especially the players currently on the roster.
Another interesting tidbit on the roster comes from Roger Moute a Bidias, the brother of Luc Mbah a Moute. So that’s kind of cool.
It’s time for Chinanu Onuaku to answer the call.
This is Onuaku’s third summer league stint with the Rockets. Time is not on his side to make the leap from the G-League to the NBA. For him, it is now or never. With the Rockets drafting two new pieces with a higher ceiling than him, his development time is running out. Summer League is the perfect opportunity for him to prove to the Rockets that his development is paying off. He will likely go into Vegas as the team’s starting center with the team wanting Zhou Qi to transition more into a forward. It’s time for Nanu to put up or shut up.
Can Vincent Edwards contribute right away?
Both of the Rockets’ drafted rookies have a boatload of potential, but Edwards is the more striking between the pair.
De’Anthony Melton is a 20-year old point guard who only has one year of college basketball under his belt. Melton did not suit up for the USC Trojans last year, but Edwards was a four-year starting small forward at Purdue who shot nearly 40 percent from three during his career with the Boilermakers.
With Trevor Ariza gone and Luc Mbah a Moute’s fate in the balance, there is a gaping hole at small forward for the Rockets, and Edwards, 22, could be a candidate to fulfill that role from the jump. However, he needs to have a promising Summer League if he wants the opportunity to contribute right away. If he can be the 3-and-D guy the Rockets are looking for, it will make their team that much better.
Which veteran will stand out?
Among the roster, the Rockets have six players who have stepped foot in an NBA game. The Rockets will likely have some open roster spot after their free agency spending, and it could go to someone on the Summer League squad.
It’s no secret Zhou Qi is a lock for the roster, but the other five could be fighting for real estate at training camp and on the regular season roster.
The player I am probably looking forward to the most is former Texas A&M Aggie Danuel House.
House, a Hightower High School alumnus in Missouri City, averaged 6.6 points per game for the Suns last year. In four of his final five games, House scored in double figures. Yes, I understand that it is the Suns and it is the end of the season in which they were attempting to tank, but it does not discredit the fact that he has upside and potential. And in summer league, that is all you are looking for. He’s got a shot to stick with the Rockets.