The Houston Rockets re-signed free agent small forward Francisco Garcia on Friday to a one-year, $1.32 million contract, which is the veteran minimum. Garcia has played 10 seasons in the NBA, eight with the Sacramento Kings and two with the Rockets. The team is desperate to add more players to help produce from the bench, and it’s really more of a patchwork move, as they want to try to get some semblance of offense coming from players not named James Harden and Dwight Howard.
The problem is that Garcia does not provide anything but three-point shooting. He is not a player who can be trusted to distribute the ball, nor is he a player who can consistently penetrate the defense and get easy scoring opportunities. He is simply a warm body who can shoot the ball from deep well enough. Stretching the floor is very important for the Rockets; Harden and Howard need some space to be able to produce at a solid clip, but Garcia isn’t really anything the team doesn’t already have.
Plus, stretching the floor for a bench unit that doesn’t have anybody who can create their own shot isn’t really valuable at all. Garcia would be a solid enough player to have at the end of the rotation, as a guy who plays 10-15 minutes per game. The Rockets will likely have him for at least 20 minutes per game, and that’s where his flaws become more exposed. He is a solid outside shooter, but a poor overall shooter. He can’t really pass the ball or rebound at all, despite his height.
Francisco Garcia is a sub-par player on the defensive end as well, owning a career 109 Defensive Rating (DRtg). He has also only producing nine defensive win shares in 10 whole seasons, which is just atrocious. Garcia does not help the Rockets’ already bad defense in any way. Now that Omer Asik is no longer anchoring the second unit, the Rockets are in for a rude awakening when other teams go wild on the bench unit. This will force Howard to play more minutes, just to keep the defense respectable. It will also force Kevin McHale‘s hand to play Harden more minutes as well, to provide offense for himself and everybody else.
When you combine that with Francisco Garcia’s very limited offense and with him having the worse season of his career last year, it becomes clear that the Rockets need desperate help from their bench unit. Garcia is definitely not the player to help Houston next season, and the fact that he is possibly going to be getting more minutes just goes to show how weak the bench is.
Garcia will be of very little value next year and will likely be one of the reasons why the bench will be on the bottom half of the league. The Rockets are paper-thin at this point, and if Howard or Harden go down with injuries, Houston will be in big trouble, being forced to rely upon the likes of Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza to produce offense, which would be a major disaster and a big blow to their playoff hopes. Francisco Garcia is not the answer to the Rockets’ bench woes.