The Houston Rockets, believe it or not, still aren’t playing at 100 percent capacity. In fact, it’s rarely happened at all this season. Just when we thought they were primed to have their full lineup intact for an extended stretch, both Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert went down with muscle strains.
Both Faried and Shumpert have missed the last three games in a row, and Shumpert’s only played in 5 total games as a Rocket since being acquired at the trade deadline. Both have been listed as day-to-day this week, but it appears the Rockets expect at least one of them back soon, if not both, because today they assigned rookie forward Gary Clark to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers G-League affiliate.
Rockets announce they have assigned rookie forward Gary Clark to the Vipers in the G League.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) March 6, 2019
Clark’s seen time in each of the last three games since Manimal and Shump went down after getting DNP-CDs in 7 of his prior 8 contests. He even played pretty well, going for 14 points and 5 rebounds against the Miami Heat and racking up 2 blocks, 2 steals and a +17 in just 11 minutes of action in last night’s win over the Toronto Raptors.
Clark being sent down to the G-League after playing some solid ball has to mean the rotation is about to get 2 players tighter, and the team likely wants him to continue to develop on the court instead of sitting behind two veterans trying to catch their rhythm after time off.
It’s a shame, because I do think Clark can really bring some value right now, especially defensively, but the Rockets obviously prefer Shumpert’s championship experience, and Faried’s been one of the year’s best scrap heap signings, so it’s understandable that the team wants them worked back into the rotation, and it has to be at the expense of someone.
Still, I think Clark could be sneaky useful for the Rockets in the playoffs, especially as a small-ball center in limited minutes, so we hopefully see him back up with the varsity soon.