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Draymond Green says Rockets’ small-ball approach is working

Draymond Green, Rockets

The Houston Rockets made a bold declaration when they traded away center Clint Capela in a four-team deal that brought swingman Robert Covington to Houston.

Capela had been–for all intents and purposes–Houston’s only reliable big on the roster, and he had since developed into one of the best rebounders in the league.

But Houston’s insistence on pursuing wing players at the deadline reflected their desire to play small, a strategy Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said has worked to their benefit.

Green specifically noted the importance of P.J. Tucker, who can rebound at a high level as an undersized forward while also spreading the floor (via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle):

They look good at it,” said Green, who has played a lot of center in small ball units with the Warriors. “And they have some guys that are good at it. It helps a lot having P.J. because he can anchor that lineup. If you throw another shooter, a guard out there, it’s not going to work. The person that makes it work is P.J.”

The Rockets are 3-2 with the small-ball lineup, including wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics as well as a 30-point drubbing of the Warriors on Thursday.

Tucker gives the Rockets some flexibility because he is doing an excellent job at denying positioning for opposing bigs.

Covington has also been as good as advertised. He hit a pair of crucial threes against the Lakers and poured in 20 points against the Warriors. Not to mention, he has four blocks in each of his last two games.

Of course, fans and opponents have only seen a glimpse of the small-ball lineup. Nevertheless, the Rockets are showing they can make it work.