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How DeMarre Carroll will add more defensive versatility to the Rockets

The addition of DeMarre Carroll will help the Houston Rockets become one of the best defensive teams in the league.

San Antonio Spurs v Houston Rockets Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets made another tremendous splash in the buyout market. On Monday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon reported that the Rockets have agreed to sign veteran forwards DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Green to fill out the remaining two roster spots ahead of their playoff push.

Doubling down on their commitment to small-ball, Carroll and Green are two exceptional additions to the team. Both players can come in as a valuable 3-and-D role players who can help the Rockets establish themselves as one of the deepest teams in the league.

But while Green’s arrival is more of a tryout period due to the 33-year-old forward signing a 10-day contract, Carroll is set to make an immediate impact on the court upon clearing waivers from the San Antonio Spurs.

Carroll excels on both ends of the court, and with Robert Covington inserted into the starting lineup, the University of Missouri prodigy will become the Rockets’ primary 3-and-D wing off the bench — similar to the days of Trevor Ariza giving way to Luc Mbah a Moute during the 2017-2018 season.

On the offensive end, Carroll will have a profound impact due to his ability to hit shots from the outside. He is a career 36.0% shooter from behind the arc and can free up more floor spacing as a potential 3-point threat.

However, despite adding more fuel to the Rockets’ high-powered offense, Carroll’s most important attribute will be his play on the defensive end.

He is a swiss army knife who can guard every position on the court. Carroll’s size (6-foot-8, 215 lb) allows him to play physical down on the low-post, while his lateral quickness gives him the ability to stay in front of opponents when guarding the bounce out on the perimeter.

This defensive possession with Carroll defending Paul George during Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Playoffs is the perfect example of his defensive strength on the perimeter.

In the video above, Carroll’s quick recovery from a pick by Myles Turner denied George’s pathway to attack the basket. Once the one-on-one possession was established, Carroll forced George into settling for a contested mid-range jump shot.

In the clips above, Carroll’s low-post defense was on full display while guarding LeBron James on two separate occasions. His size and strength kept James from bulldozing his way to the basket for an easy layup or dunk attempt — something LeBron has made his bread and butter throughout his luxurious Hall-of-Fame career.

Whether it’s forcing George into settling for an ill-advised jumper or retaining LeBron from attacking the basket, Carroll’s defensive versatility to challenge both players will play a key role in the Rockets’ postseason success come April and May.

And while playing next to P.J. Tucker, Thabo Sefolosha and Robert Covington, Houston may have one of the best and most versatile defensive teams entering the playoffs due to the additional Carroll.

Carroll and the Spurs agreed to a contract buyout after signing a three-year deal this offseason as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards.

Unable to find his place in the Spurs system, Carroll only appeared in 15 games averaging less than 10 minutes of playing time (9.0 MPG). After he was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies during the first round of the 2009 draft, Carroll played for eight different franchises throughout his career, which included a five-game stint with the Rockets during the 2010-11 season.