NBA Draft: Re-drafting the 2014 NBA Draft’s first round

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images /
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Clint Capela
Clint Capela (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

2014 NBA Redraft: 8. Clint Capela, Sacramento Kings

For the first two years of his career, Clint Capela was simply this raw, athletic and lanky center backing up a Dwight Howard who was still considered one of the best big men in the game.

Similar to Nurkic, Capela had flashed tremendous potential in the areas he so effortlessly thrives in now. With Howard in front of him, though, it would be hard for the former 25th overall pick to see exactly what he could do in a bigger role.

Since Dwight’s exodus and the arrival of Mike D’Antoni prior to the 2016-17 season, the seven-footer out of Switzerland has seen drastic increases to his productivity at both ends of the court. He’s improved both his points and rebounds per game in each of those seasons, topping off at 16.6 and 12.7 per game this past year.

Capela isn’t exactly stepping out to the 3-point line and launching jumpers as so many of his other big man counterparts are these days. His ability to attract so much attention diving to the rim is what’s brought value to Houston offensively, whether that allows James Harden to dump it down to his center or dart the ball to an open shooter in the corner.

His length has also allowed him to step out onto the perimeter and guard smaller players, a must for big men of this era. Capela doesn’t exactly lock them down, but he’s not totally lost on an island, able to slide his feet and chase guys off the 3-point line.

What was once a hard rock of clay has been smoothed out into the two-way interior presence that stands before us named Clint Capela. He has been the gift the Houston Rockets didn’t know they had just a few short years ago. Only now, his value to the team at both ends is such that they don’t know what they’d do without him.