DeAndre Jordan was one of the first names dragged into trade conversations after the L.A. Clippers struggled due to an injury-plagued season. Among them was one that had the league’s second-leading rebounder going to the Houston Rockets for young center Clint Capela.
According to ESPN’s Ian Begley, talks between both teams dissolved fairly quick due to Houston’s “affinity” for the 25-year-old Swiss center.
Capela has developed well under that Rockets system, and the addition of Mike D’Antoni to the helm of this team has put his improvement on steroids — becoming a much more intellectual player, which has played large dividends in his development.
While DeAndre Jordan is a starter-quality commodity in this league, Capela is trending up and like Jordan, improving his free-throw technique. The Rockets’ center is now making excellent cuts and improving his positioning under the basket, resulting in and NBA-best field goal percentage of 66.4 percent, a whisker better than Jordan, who has led the league in that category the past five seasons.
Capela is averaging a double-double for the first time in his career, posting 14.5 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in his fourth season in the league. Improved all around, D’Antoni has paid back his center’s effort and rewarded him with increased minutes — a career-high 26.4 per game.
Jordan, a Houston native, would have been penciled to make a move if it weren’t for Capela, who is still under an extra-friendly four-year, $6 million deal, expected to become a restricted free agent after the 2018-19 season.