Clint Capela is expected to miss a couple of weeks with a reported leg injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Capela, a third-year center for the Houston Rockets, sustained his injury when he banged knees with Karl-Anthony Towns on Dec 17. Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle reported that an MRI revealed a broken fibula, and the Swiss big “will likely miss several weeks.”
The Rockets have been enamored with the 22-year-old since last season, and they felt that he was a better fit in the offense than Dwight Howard. The numbers show it to be true, and Capela is the perfect roll man for James Harden. He’s averaging career-highs in minutes (24.5), points (11.8), rebounds (8.0) and blocked shots (1.6).
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When Houston puts Capela in the pick-and-roll, Harden has a long, athletic target around the rim, and he’s shown the ability to go up and snag alley-oops routinely. Moreover, he’s pretty sure-handed when catching drop-off passes, which come in abundance with Harden’s ability to penetrate.
His greatest asset is his improvement as a rim protector. On shots coming within six feet, Capela holds opponents to 53.6 percent, six percentage points fewer than their average of 59.7. Houston may not be known for their defense, but it’s an added dynamic opponents have to worry about.
The only real knock on Capela is his woeful free throw shooting, and his 44 percent makes him a prime target for the “hack-a-player” strategy if the opposing coach chooses to employ that.
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