Mar 26, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Nick Johnson (13) dribbles the ball during practice for the west regional of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Houston Rockets Summer League Roster Preview

Houston Rockets Summer League Roster Preview

The Rookies

Nick Johnson, G

A smaller guard without much shooting ability, Nick Johnson would seem like an odd fit with the rain-making Houston Rockets. However, his 6’7″ wingspan and electrifying athleticism certainly endears him to many. Johnson has some work to do if he wants to become a backup 3-and-D guard but has the talent to make it work. In Houston’s system of sprinting the ball up to create opportunities in off-set chances, Johnson does have a role despite some obvious flaws. He’s a perfect Summer League fit because of his ability to end a game with a destructive hammer at the rim.

Players Under Contract

Isaiah Canaan, G

One of my favorite college guards last season, Canaan isn’t the quickest point guard but has a gorgeous jumper that is set to auto with this squad. I hate to harp on Houston’s system too much (and won’t any longer), but Canaan and players like Troy Daniels seemingly can make a career simply with their ability to knock down a three at any point in a game. He’s the “veteran” on this team so expect tons of pick-and-rolls and an offense catered around the ability of their guards creating. Between Canaan and Johnson, the Rockets own one of the most electrifying backcourts in Vegas.

Undrafted Rookies

Andre Dawkins, G

The Duke guard isn’t athletic, quick, or a good defender. Guess what Dawkins does well? Take a wild gander. In his last season at Duke University, Dawkins somehow managed to jack up 4.6 threes per game despite only averaging 13.7 minutes in that span. A true gunner, there is no doubt he’s going to simply do the one thing he can do. Repeatedly.

Luke Hancock, G-F

His first name is Luke. He made clutch shots during two NCAA tourney runs. And he is white. Cool Hand Luke, it is! One of the few rare players that have shined repeatedly on the largest stage in college hoops, Hancock possesses a large frame and decent range (5.5 3PA in 23.9 minutes). Hancock is probably too slow to play defense or even get a dribble off, perhaps hinting at a D-League or overseas career. But during the Summer League? Make it rain, Hand of —time to end this blurb.

Tarik Black, G

Tarik Black, the guy most famous for turning down Aaron Rodgers’ overtures to play football, is an undersized forward out of Kansas. An undersized wing, Black measure a wingspan over 7’2″ and is incredibly strong and athletic. Of course, his talents were hidden under the suffocating Bill Self system (peeks over at Andrew Wiggins nodding). Now under a coaching staff that will assuredly use his talents and rules that allow more freedom, look for some highlight plays at the rim – finished at a 75% clip, according to Synergy Sports.

Jabari Brown, G

A shoot-first shooting guard that excels pulling up off-the-dribble, catching and shooting off passes, and possesses little awareness to pass to others, does Jabari Brown remind you of anyone? Just kidding. I thought here would be a nice time to make an absurd comparison to a certain bearded star. And, yes, Brown is projected to play little defense at the next level.

Geron Johnson, G

Now we’re starting to get to guys you’ve never heard of if you don’t watch college basketball. Wait, you did? I don’t blame you. Summer League consists of players scraping to make the end of benches in the D-League. It speaks more to the lack of spots in the NBA, than the lack of talent. Johnson is the standard type of athletic NBA prospect that possesses All-World talent (length, wingspan, instincts) but has a checkered past to fight through. Johnson averaged 2.3 steals per 40 minutes, if you are the type of dude that’s into that stuff. Cool name, too.

Akil Mitchell, F

Mitchell is a stathead’s dream, a regular plus-minus maverick because of his ability to play defense. He doesn’t score much but rebounds well enough while playing solid defense where NBA teams will give him a look hoping he develops into something like Gorgui Dieng.

Omar Oraby, C

Ya can’t teach length. Or height. Or something. Oraby is 7’2″ but barely played in his four seasons at USC, a middling D-1 school. Take that as you wish but for every Marc Gasol, there are a million Hamed Haddadis. That’s what they never tell you.

Richard Solomon, F

A lanky, skinny forward out of Cal, Solomon was decent in his 4-year stint as a Golden Bear. He doesn’t do anything quite well, fouling too much and lacking an outside touch, but isn’t awful at necessarily anything. I don’t see much of an NBA career here but crazier things have happened. Me being wrong is not one of them.

Chris Udofia, F

I like Chris Udofia. I have never seen any of his college games but pop in the tpae and you see him flash. Fine, it’s just one highlight. Anyway, Udofia’s numbers and length suggest he can become something of a point-forward (nearly four assists per game with a seven-foot wingspan). He probably won’t play much, anyway, so these are words you’ll never unsee.

Pendarvis Williams, G

In 2012, Pendarvis Williams’ 15-seed Norfolk State beat 2-seed Missouri in the NCAA Tournament. Forget about Kyle O’Quinn’s 26-14 effort for a second. Pendarvis (most likely to be a lizard NBA name behind Javaris Crittenton) dropped 20 on the Mizzou guards, including Phil Pressey, now a nominal NBA player. Other than that, he’s been pretty unspectacular but we will always have that game. Thank you, Pendarvis.

Non-rookies, non-NBA players

Maarty Leunen, F

Leunen spent time in Europe and Italy in the past season, working as a stretch-four and, well, not much else. He’ll come in and jack em up, like everyone else on this roster. I love Summer League.

Tags: Akil Mitchell Geron Johnson Houston Rockets Isaiah Canaan Jabari Brown Luke Hancock Maarty Leunen Nick Johnson Tarik Black