The Houston Rockets are winning, thanks to the outstanding play of James Harden, Eric Gordon, and Clint Capela. But, imagine what happens when they get a healthy Chris Paul back in the lineup. As good as the Rockets are, they could be better. But, in order to do so, it will have to start with a trade.
With the start of the season, there are major NBA trade rumors going on concerning a handful of players and teams. But, only one name has been mentioned almost daily. The Philadelphia 76ers have all but given up on Jahlil Okafor and while he’s being mentioned with a few teams, one has stayed under-the-radar. The Houston Rockets.
The Rockets currently have Ryan Anderson as their starting power forward and while he has produced (11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds), he doesn’t fit what the Rockets need. Looking over their roster, the Rockets are a perimeter team, however, in order for them to beat the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs they must change their approach.
Their only true low post threat is Capela (13.3 points, 10.8 rebounds) and that could change with a trade for Jahlil Okafor.
While Okafor has played primarily at the center position for the Sixers, he’s versatile enough to play alongside Capela as a power forward. One of the knocks on Okafor has been his rebounding and defense. But, his time with the Sixers, he was normally the focal point of an offense that didn’t have a shooter like Harden, a facilitator like Paul or a rebounding force like Capela. What the Rockets will require him to do will be far different than that of the Sixers. And, that alone will grant him the success he so desperately craves.
For his career, Okafor (14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds) has been average at best. The Sixers were going through a process and in doing so, his minutes and production took a hit. With Joel Embiid now cemented as the future at the position and versatile Robert Covington playing power forward, Okafor is the odd man out. This is where the Rockets can save his career and boost their chances of winning an NBA championship this season.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 6, 2017
The Warriors are good. We know this already, but they do have their flaws and Okafor will help the Rockets exploit that.
Anderson is a great perimeter threat, but he’s not the physical player the playoffs call for. Okafor has 275 pounds that he can throw right into the upper-body of Draymond Green. Green is a great defender, but for some reason, teams tend to shy away from putting a big body forward on him. Anderson is a perimeter player who loves to hoist three-pointers if given the chance. A player like that makes Green’s job that much easier on the defensive end.
If the Rockets want to beat the Warriors, they must make them work on both ends of the floor. Have any Rockets fans seen Okafor with the ball in his hands? Anderson doesn’t have those type of skills to get to the basket. A player with Okafor’s talents will only make Harden. Paul, Ariza, Tucker, and Gordon better on the wings.
With the Sixers possibly in search of just a second round pick, the Rockets have options in terms of trade pieces. If the goal is to shed cash then why not offer Anderson and his $19.5 million he’s set to make this year and $20 million+ for the next two after? Okafor is still on the books for $4.9 million this season with a possible option of a cap friendly $6.3 million for next year. If the Rockets wish to use Anderson is a reserve role for the second unit offense then give the Sixers their lone second rounder for 2018. I mean, the Rockets are contenders now and their roster is set so that second round player will probably end up in the G-League anyway.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 19, 2017
While teams like the Phonix Suns, Brooklyn Nets, and Chicago Bulls are all being mentioned as possible trade destinations, the Rockets could be the dark horse team to get Jahlil Okafor.
[Featured Image by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images]