The Houston Rockets are in the midst of another long losing streak. In addition, they just suspended two starters in Christian Wood and Kevin Porter Jr, so there is plenty of negative stuff that can be said about the Rockets.
This article will not be covering the negative, as we will have more losing streaks to cover as the season goes on. So instead, this article is about David Nwaba yes, David Nwaba, who many Rockets fans up until recently probably didn't give too much thought about when it came to Houston’s rotation.
Nwaba has been with the Rockets for two years and even though his season was cut short last year was one of the most consistent players on the team. Most may remember he was injured and not expected to play in a game against the Utah Jazz but suited up and played despite having one healthy hand to do anything with on the court.
The Rockets were severely short-handed, but Coach Silas made this statement about what Nwaba said to him before the game:
“After last night’s game, Dave came up to me and was like, ‘I’m injured, but it’s hard for me to sit over there and watch when we’re so low on bodies, and we’re so decimated. And even though I’m not 100 percent, maybe I can give a little bit.’ To have that kind of character, to have that kind of attitude is something that we need.”
Nwaba was supposed to be out for six weeks but risked reinjury to help out the Rockets that night. I bring up this to display what a team player Nwaba is for Houston. During this rebuilding year, Nwaba has already had several DNPs and played only in garbage time in other games. Most players, especially veterans, would have had a problem with this, but Nwaba continues to be a good teammate.
The Rockets had avoided a lot of players missing games due to Covid Protocols, but they have had several players out recently with the new extensive testing. That meant the door was open for Nwaba to get more playing time. As mentioned earlier, the Rockets are in the middle of another long losing streak, now up to eight. Yet, even in the constant losing, Nwaba has been one of the few bright spots.
In the last eight games, Nwaba is first in blocks on the team, second in rebounds, is shooting 55.6 percent from deep and 50 percent overall from the floor. Nwaba is also first on the team in offensive rating and second in steals. The three-point shooting is the biggest surprise, as Nwaba struggled at the begging of the year but has improved over the last several games.
As usual, Nwaba's defense has been steady, as he is usually the player to guard the other team's best wing player. Nwaba is also 8-9 from the free-throw line, which is a much-needed boost on a team that has issues (to say the least) at the stripe.
Yes, the Rockets are in a rebuilding year and will continue to struggle as they try to grow chemistry and find a core unit that they can build around for the future. With Nwaba being one of the older players on the team (28 soon to be 29), he may not be part of the future for the Rockets. But you need professionals on your team like Nwaba who don't complain or cause issues in the locker room, and when called upon, goes out and give 110 percent no matter the score.
There’s plenty of negativity surrounding the Rockets at the moment, but let's give some credit to one of the seldom-mentioned members of the squad who’s playing some of his best ball right now.