Player: Clint Capela
Acquired: 25th Pick of 2014 Draft
Contract Situation: Signed to rookie deal worth $991,000 this year, $1.03 million next year, with team options the following two years
Twitter Game: Decent, mostly in French (@CapelaClint)
Like so many foreign-born players drafted in the back half of the first round by playoff-caliber teams, Clint Capela won’t be counted on to play meaningful minutes for the Rockets this year -- unless something goes horribly wrong. The Swiss big man may see time in the D-League this year, or get garbage-time minutes while learning from big men like Dwight Howard (about basketball -- hopefully not about appropriate social interactions).
After being drafted 25th overall, Capela was originally thought to remain in France this season, freeing up cap space to pursue big-ticket free agents this summer. We all know how that panned out, so Capela’s here now.
As far as what he brings to the table, it’s the raw material one gets excited about. He’s got a 7-4 wingspan, good speed, and great jumping ability -- all the materials to be an elite defensive center. He already blocks a ton of shots, though how well he develops in other areas remains to be seen. His game is that of a smaller DeAndre Jordan -- the blocks, of course, but offensively, all dunks and layups, no jump shots, and terrible free throw percentage (Thanks, DraftExpress). He might not be a serviceable offensive player for four years or so, if ever. But if he gets on the floor, get ready for some thunderous alley-oops.
Even though he has obvious talent, he doesn't have a clear path to minutes. Without much of an offensive game to speak of, he has no way to push himself past Jeff Adrien, Joey Dorsey and/or Josh Powell, veteran big men who may not be as explosive, but probably will have a better grasp of the offensive and defensive schemes. The Rockets are too committed to contending for a title to tolerate the growing pains Clint is sure to have.
For now, we can hope to see Capela some in the preseason, and dream of a future in which he tears down the length of the court for a chase-down block or a transition dunk, and think of potential nicknames. "Cap" seems too basic, any ideas?