Last season, the Houston Rockets made one of the boldest and riskiest things any NBA team could dream of making. They completely changed the game was played by giving up on the big man and fully committing to the small ball with five shooters on the floor at all times.
That style of play paid off during the regular season but, as expected, things went south during the playoffs when they had to match up vs. teams with more size and couldn’t handle them down low, prompting another failed postseason run and, eventually, James Harden’s departure.
Needless to say, in order for that to happen, the Houston Rockets had to trade away standout big man Clint Capela. Capela wasn’t a superstar but he was an elite roll-man, a solid rim protector, and a nice interior presence who’s now blossoming with the Atlanta Hawks.
That’s why, on the verge of his recent triple-double with blocks, Rockets guard Eric Gordon took to Twitter to admit that he’s still pissed off about them trading him:
Clint Capela just got the rare triple-double with blocks. He’s been really playing well for the Hawks.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 23, 2021
I’m still pissed 😡
— Eric Gordon (@TheofficialEG10) January 23, 2021
Perhaps the worst part about this trade is the fact their failed small ball experiment didn’t even last long. They committed a lot of money on DeMarcus Cousins and Christian Wood in the offseason to go back to traditional basketball when they could have a great big man already.
Capela will, obviously, welcome that move. He’s getting more touches with the Atlanta Hawks and they’re allowing him to thrive as a defensive anchor as well. As for the Houston Rockets, they continue to struggle and are looking more like a rebuilding team rather than an actual contender out of the stacked Western Conference.