One of the biggest issues last season for the Houston Rockets was rebounding. They finished 28th in overall team rebounds and team rebound percentage, and 22nd in contested rebounds. After Clint Capela, there just wasn’t anyone else on the roster with the size and skill to contribute heavily in that area.
So the Rockets went out this offseason and signed 7’1” veteran center Tyson Chandler to hopefully help out with this major issue.
The 37-year-old big man averaged 5.6 rebounds per game last season in just 15 minutes per contest and is just one season removed from averaging 9.1 rebounds per game with the Phoenix Suns in 2018. He may be getting up there in age, but he can still pull them down.
Chandler will likely play on limited minutes, but he should be able to help out a bit offensively as well. He’s always been a good pick-and-roll finisher, and playing with James Harden and Russell Westbrook should give him a chance to show off that part of his game as well. The Rockets shouldn’t lose too much of their lob game when Capela sits, which was also a big issue on last season’s squad.
Though never a premiere shot blocker (he averages just 1.2 per game for his career), his size should help out with rim protection, giving the Rockets another big body to clog the paint. Size was another thing the team lacked last season, and with Chandler in the fold along with Capela, Nene, and the youngster Isaiah Hartenstein, the Rockets finally have a plethora of size at the center position.
Capela has missed 40 games combined over the last three season, so there is an injury history there. In years past, when Clint went down, the Rockets would obviously struggle underneath, often running a small-ball lineup. Chandler’s presence should help mitigate that should Capela miss time again this season.
In fact, Capela’s already aggravated the same thumb injury he’s had prior surgery on, and while it doesn’t initially sound serious, it’s just another reminder that Clint hasn’t exactly been a beacon of health since becoming a full-time player.
The Rockets finally have a backup plan in place.