Jun 26, 2014; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Clint Capela (Switzerland) shakes hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being selected as the number twenty-five overall pick to the Houston Rockets in the 2014 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Capela expected to join Houston Rockets in 2014?


The Rockets are planning to bring first-round selection Clint Capela over for this upcoming season, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. 

After weeks of uncertainty about their plans for their first-round pick, the Rockets are working on signing Clint Capela in time to begin his NBA career next season.

The Rockets have been working with Capela on his buyout and FIBA letter of clearance, ending the idea that he would remain in Europe for at least another season, a person with knowledge of their decision said. Because contracts for first-round picks are slotted, there is not expected to be issues with signing Capela once he and the Rockets work through the FIBA clearance.

Capela attended Sunday’s Las Vegas Summer League game but was not in uniform. He has not been on the Rockets’ summer  league rosters in Orlando or Las Vegas.

The Rockets selected Capela with the 25th pick of the draft last month. They had been non-committal about whether they would prefer he remain in the French League or make the jump to the NBA, saying they generally like to develop players in their system.

Capela will most likely end up as a center, as his best skills revolve around his rim protection — largely due to his massive 7’4 wingspan — and his potential in the pick-and-roll, where he displays good hands and solid athletic fluidity.

This was probably one of the most difficult decisions of the draft process. He is definitely not ready for the NBA, and given his performance in the Nike Hoop Summit game, might not even be ready for the D-League. However, as Feigen points out, the Rockets like to develop their players in their own system. Plus, Dwight Howard is an excellent person for Capela to learn from because of Howard’s intelligence in the pick-and-roll.

I probably would have left him overseas for one more season. The Rockets have signed Jeff Adrien and Joey Dorsey this week, plus already have Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones in tow. Capela will not get any playing time this year, which means that they’re wasting a year of his entry-level contract. Having said that, Rio Grande Valley is a great place for Capela to develop as an active big who will only be responsible for defending the rim and playing a minimalistic role on offense involving offensive rebounds and put-backs. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Capela coming into the draft, but the Rockets have the type of strong organizational infrastructure that can get the best out of his size and relative agility.

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