Usman Garuba was asked after his first G-League game what he needed to work on to get back on with the Houston Rockets. To paraphrase Garuba's response, he said nothing and that he feels he is already ready to play in the NBA. Instead, it's more about playing in games.
As you can see, Garuba has complete confidence in his game and in his abilities and views his time with the Vipers as a chance to get more experience. In only seven games, Garuba played sparingly, averaging a little over six minutes a game. The Rocket wanted to get Garuba more playing time, especially after the Daniel Theis signing.
Therefore, Houston assigned Garuba to the Vipers on November 18, and Garuba made his playing debut for the Vipers on the 22. Currently, the Rockets are trying to give time to Theis and Alperen Sengun, which is a difficult task considering Sengun has quickly become one of the Rockets’ most consistent players.
Garuba is NBA-ready when defending, and his ability to guard multiple positions and recover on defense to contend at the rim is also already at an NBA level. Garuba's ability to play above the rim is also something that will help him in the NBA. However, there are a few areas Garuba has to improve on when it comes to his offensive game.
To play in today's NBA, you have to become a threat from the perimeter, even as a big man. Some players play in the league without an outside shot, but to play consistently and take the next step from bench player to starter, you have to knock down three-pointers. Garuba has shown flashes of becoming a decent shooter, but there is still work to be done.
Garuba shot 30.8 and 33.8 from three-point range his last two years with Real Madrid. His time in the G-League will help him by giving him more opportunities from beyond the arc in an actual game setting. Garuba's time in the G-League will also help him improve his passing and ball handling.
No, he doesn't have to become Chris Paul, but becoming a better second-tier playmaker from the high post will only help expand his game. In Garuba's first game with the Vipers, he showed his vast potential. He finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds, going 6-6 from the field. This after only one practice with his new team. Garuba even knocked down both of his three-point attempts.
Garuba may be correct in saying he is NBA ready, but playing 30-plus minutes a game as he did in his first game with the Vipers will help expedite his growth more than sitting on the bench with the Rockets. This will benefit Garuba and the Rockets in the long term.