2009 NBA Summer League round-up: Houston Rockets
July 9th, 2009

Hassan Adams: Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo struck gold in 2007 when he signed Jamario Moon right at the start of free agency, after a fine performance in a Raptors mini-camp. In 2008, he went for it again with Hassan Adams…and he struck out. He signed Adams to a guaranteed contract in July, then watched on as Adams (perhaps complacent due to the guaranteed money) showed up out of shape and with as few ball skills as ever. Adams was later salary-dumped onto the Clippers, who cut him.

After that, Adams went to Serbia to play for Vojvodina Srbija Gas Novi Sad, a team that badly needs its name abridging if it’s to make any catchy jingles. He totalled 11 points in two games before leaving in what I believe was acrimonious circumstances. He won’t make the Rockets roster; they didn’t sign Trevor Ariza, turn down Von Wafer’s advances and spend all that money on Jermaine Taylor just to let Hassan take their roster spot. But it’s nice to see him again anyway. Hope he can get his mojo back.


Rod Benson: Rod Benson had a great year in 2007-08, starting out in the Nets training camp, then going to the D-League and leading it in rebounds. But 2008-09 was far worse: Benson went to France and signed with Nancy, but averaged only 2.3/2.3 in eight games before being released. He returned to the D-League, and averaged 7.3 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Dakota Wizards, before being traded to the Reno Bighorns where he averaged a far better 16.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.


Chase Budinger: Budinger is but one more on my list of “Players I would rather the Bulls had drafted instead of Taj Gibson at #26,” an increasingly long list that’s getting a bit extreme. I will get over it eventually, though. (Think of it as a good thing though, Taj. The less I expect of you, the more I’m going to like it when you turn out to be brilliant. And you will. Never forget that. If I have no expectations for you, they can’t be dashed. You’re like the anti-Eddy Curry. Make me love you.)


Will Conroy: Conroy put up lots of everything for the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in the D-League last year. 49 games, 44.7 mpg (lead the league), 26.5 ppg (also lead the league), 8.0 apg (fifth), 4.8 rpg, 2.0 spg, 4.2 topg. He stuffed that CV like a CV stuffing bitch. And it’s a shame that it’s more than likely only getting him as far as Spain. But still. A good effort. Have some time off, you must be knackered.


Marcus Cousin: Cousin averaged 10.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game for Houston last year, That’s the University of Houston, though, not the Rockets. Those are good numbers. Shame about the conference that they came in. Mind you, Robert Dozier got drafted while getting slightly worse numbers in the exact same conference. And he’s a lot smaller. So that makes total sense.


Joey Dorsey: Dorsey’s rookie year was pretty sedate. He signed late -not before losing a game that he wasn’t even in – yet ended up getting a way bigger than usual contract for a second-rounder. Then it went downhill; Dorsey played all of six minutes for Rockets last year, and spent only seven games in the D-League,. Down there, he played with disinterested body language, averaging 9.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, which are pretty tame numbers in relative terms. He’s also going to turn 26 later this year, which makes him 18 months older than Darko Milicic. And we all know how much potential he has – none. Still, there’s some good news; someone wrote a fluff piece, and his contract isn’t guaranteed after this season. So that’s something.


Charles Gaines: Gaines got a training camp contract with the Spurs to start the year, and after getting waived he was assigned to their D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros. The D-League is a slightly strange place for a 27-year-old to go, and Gaines perhaps unsurprisingly beasted, averaging 14.9 points and 10.3 rebounds a game. He left before the end of the season to sign with Israeli powerhouse Maccabi Tel-Aviv, for whom he averaged 8.0 ppg and 6.4 rpg. He won’t win a roster spot here, but he also won’t need it.


Mike Green: Green played for the Cavaliers summer league team last year, where he started at point guard, took lots of shots and shot 30%. Can’t say I was duly impressed, really. More impressive was his follow-up season in Turkey, where he averaged 11.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists for Antalya, but he shot only 31% from three-point range, again in love with his sub-par jump shot. Hone that, and we’ll talk.


Maarty Leunen: Leunen, a draft pick of the Rockets last year, also spent the season in Turkey, playing for the immortally-named Darussafaka C.Tires Istanbul. There, he averaged 31 minutes, 12.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, shooting 44% from two-point range and 44% from three-point range. And he took a whole lot more threes than twos. If there was ever an outside chance of Leunen making the Rockets roster this year – and there wasn’t, really – then the incumbent Brian Cook just took it away from him.


Brad Newley: Another unsigned Rockets second-rounder, this time from 2007, Newley has spent the two years since being drafted in Greece. Last year, he moved from Panionios to Panellinios, although it’s plausible that he just boarded the wrong bus or something and no one sought to correct him. Newley averaged 10.4 points and 3.1 assists in 24 minutes a game, but his jump shot wasn’t really with him all year. He, like Adams, has little chance of making the team this year, partly due to this next guy.


Jermaine Taylor: The Rockets bought Taylor’s rights on draft night for $2.5 million, which is a hell of a lot of money to give up for a second-round pick, even a high 30s one. As a result, I think you can pretty much go ahead and assume that he’s making the team.


Garrett Temple: Temple was the tall point guard to Marcus Thornton’s undersized shooting guard, and averaged 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in his senior season. For some reason, I have a bit of a thing with offensively-challenged tall combo guards who want to be point guards – see also, my views on Cedric Bozeman – but the fact that Temple didn’t shoot over 40% in any of the four years of his college career means that his NBA prospects don’t really exist unless he corrects that.


Darryl Watkins: Darryl Watkins’s middle name is “Finesse”, but don’t read too much into that. Like Gaines, he went to camp with the Spurs last year, but didn’t make the cut, and spent the rest of the year in China, averaging roughly 20/14. Good numbers, but it is China.


James White: White has an unguaranteed contract with the Rockets for next season, and, if they’re truly going to go young (and I don’t see as though they have a choice), then the arrival of Ariza won’t necessarily be the death of White. Nor will Budinger, either.

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