The Rockets kick off Summer League at 6pm CST on ESPN with an anticipated matchup of the 3rd overall 2023 draft pick, Sterling “Scoot” Henderson against Amen “The Saint” Thompson.
The Rockets are rolling out a strong VSL roster with 2023 first round picks Cam Whitmore, the aforementioned Thompson, as well as 2022 first round picks Jabari Smith and Tari Eason. Undrafted Rockets signing Matthew Mayer is also on the roster.
Some other notable Rockets on the roster are two-way contract players Darius Days, and Trevor Hudgins, who both saw (served?) time with the 2022-23 Rockets.
The full roster is here.
The Summer League Mini-Camp roster is here!— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) July 3, 2023
Let the countdown to Vegas begin pic.twitter.com/po1iA8j0um
Trhae Mitchell has been around before. Given the Rockets “Gritty Veteran” trend, it seems unlikely anyone beyond the first rounders will see time with the Rockets, though there are no doubt some RGV Vipers on the roster. Darius Days is probably an NBA bench player, with the right opportunity, for what that’s worth.
Interestingly, the Rockets feature exactly one center on this roster, Jay Hinton, so I’d expect to see a good bit of Tari Eason and Jabari Smith holding down the smallball center fort for the Rockets.
The NBA will be testing one welcome, and one less welcome, rule change in VSL. First is a new in game “flopping” penalty.
The proposed In-Game Flopping Penalty will be in effect on a provisional basis for all 2023 NBA summer leagues. pic.twitter.com/eqdJ5gHr7d— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 4, 2023
If the officials actually call the penalty as written here, with some frequency, I’d expect to see positive changes in the game. Of course, NBA officials have been handed tools to improve the game before and have more or less refused to use them (Clear Path Foul, Take Foul).
The other, less welcome change is a revised coaches challenge. Given the weird application of the challenge, I’m essentially against anything that leads to more in-game litigation by non-players. Yes, the previous rule did in some fashion penalize a team for a successful challenge. My response to this is: so what? I don’t think the challenge should be around anyway. Now, I expect, we’ll see more challenges, as coaches are convinced they’ll win and get another shot at more tedious, game killing, litigation. But at least successful NBA litigation is rewarded! Justice has triumphed (if the rule is adopted).
The proposed Coach's Challenge rule will be in effect on a provisional basis for all 2023 NBA summer leagues. pic.twitter.com/Bqat0AnfRg— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 4, 2023
In a bit of somewhat unrelated news, though tied strongly to Rockets owner Tillman Fertita, the Houston Cougars will join the Big 12 Conference this season. Some might argue they should have been there all along, but for the selfish nastiness of various Texas universities. The University of Houston has twice the student population of, say, Kansas, and the Houston metro area has much larger population than the state of Kansas, though admittedly less corn.
And that’s enough college athletics news for a few years.
Rockets VSL Player I’m Most Excited to Watch:
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