With the season coming to a close and a major chunk of the regular roster unavailable, the Houston Rockets continued patchworking together a lineup for the final week of the season by signing 6’8” forward Cameron Oliver for the rest of the year.
The 24-year-old Oliver went to school at Nevada before signing a deal with the Rockets back in 2017 and then transitioning to the NBA G-League. He then headed to the Australian Basketball League, playing this past year for the Cairns Taipans, where he averaged 17.3 points and 10 boards per game.
Roster Update: The #Rockets announced they have signed forward/center Cameron Oliver to a 10-day contract using a hardship exception.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 10, 2021
Oliver played for Cairns of the Australian National Basketball League, while averaging 17.3 ppg & 10.0 rpg. pic.twitter.com/TTAJjo5BjW
I’m sure he’ll find the sledding significantly tougher in the NBA, but he’s expected to be active tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, and the Rockets basically have as many bench minutes available as can be earned.
In Saturday’s loss to the Utah Jazz, the Rockets started newcomers Anthony Lamb and DaQuan Jeffries, who played 31 and 36 minutes respectively, while Armoni Brooks, who just signed a two-way deal on April 3, played 33 minutes off the bench.
Khyri Thomas, who just signed a 10-day with the Rockets on May 7, got 33 minutes of run off the bench in just his second game played with the team, putting up 27 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.
Houston had just eight available players for that one, which means guys like Thomas, Brooks, and even the new-new guy Oliver have a chance to show their stuff in the hopes to earn a contract somewhere next year, either with the rebuilding Rockets or somewhere else.
It’s been a long time since the end of a Rockets season was like this. Though certainly not a playoff run, it is fun to watch these new guys and see if they can turn into something. Rebuilding isn’t all bad, and right now, as Rockets fans, it has a sort of novelty to it that we’re not used to.
I can enjoy it for what it’s worth for now, provided it’s short-lived. The last thing I want to do, however, is get used to it.