Why the Houston Rockets should sign Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Shabazz Napier (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are without a backup point guard and must sign one before the season begins. Shabazz Napier is just the man for the job.

The Houston Rockets have had an extremely busy offseason, signing big-name free agents Christian Wood and DeMarcus Cousins, shipping Russell Westbrook to the Washington Wizards in exchange for John Wall, and having to deal with all the drama surrounding James Harden and his apparent request to be traded.

While the Rockets has certainly filled in some of their biggest needs and should be an overall better team in 2020-21 than they were last year (assuming Harden remains in Houston), there is one massive hole in the roster: a backup point guard.

Related Story. Rockets: 3 dark horse trade destinations for James Harden. light

Entering the preseason, Chris Clemons and Jerian Grant ran point off the bench. But Clemons tore his Achilles against the Spurs and Houston just waived Grant. All of this suggests that the Rockets will bring in a backup point guard soon and Shabazz Napier should be that guy.

For one, the Rockets could sign Napier for close to the veteran minimum which is huge with Houston’s cap situation. Getting a quality guard like Napier for cheap would be a huge win for the Rockets.

Napier is a good ball-handler who can effectively be the point of attack for Houston’s second unit. Napier takes care of the ball, only averaging 1.3 turnovers in his six-year career.

Napier is also a capable distributor even though he has only averaged 2.5 assists in his career. A good example is what Napier did last year during his time as a Minnesota Timberwolf, posting 5.2 assists a night. This number jumps to 7.9 assists when you look at Napier’s per 36 stats.

Shabazz Napier could be a complement to James Harden

Another way Napier fits in with Houston is his 3-point shooting. While Napier’s career 34.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc does not jump off the page, it is solid enough especially for a Rockets team that shoots more 3-pointers than any other NBA team.

Defensively, Napier is solid and has the quickness to stay in front of his man. Napier is consistently able to get around screens and stay on his man to avoid having a big switched on to an opponent’s guard.

Napier also has established himself as one of the better guards in the league at creating steals, averaging 2.1 steals per 36 during his time as a Washington Wizard during the latter stages of the 2019-20 season.

The key to this is that Napier’s ability to recognize what the offense is doing before anything actually happens. As a result, Napier has proven the ability to do a good job jumping passing lanes and beat his man to the spot, both of which often result in steals.

Napier’s defense would be a huge addition to Houston’s second unit, considering that defensive improvement is the biggest thing new Rockets head coach Stephen Silas has emphasized over training camp and through the first few preseason games.

Overall, Napier has the skills to fill in just what the Houston Rockets need in a backup point guard and would play a big role for Houston every time John Wall went to the bench. Houston should bring in Napier soon to give him time to get familiar with Silas’ system and build chemistry with his new teammates so that he will be ready to go when the 2020-21 season begins.

Next. NBA Predictions: 2020-21 NBA win total projections. dark