Summer League play has wrapped up and the Houston Rockets found themselves as runner ups for the second straight summer. It did not start off well as the Rockets started off 0-3, but with a few practices and the team playing as a unit they turned it around.
Houston won three straight games against the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, with two #1 overall picks in Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett. They also defeated the Atlanta Hawks as well as the Charlotte Hornets (still sounds funny saying it), to play in the championship against the Sacramento Kings.
One of the main reasons for the Rockets turnaround in wins and overall team play was because of point guard Isaiah Canaan. The 2nd-year guard out of Murray State has really stepped up his game, and at times looked like a different level type of player when on the floor.
A point guard is supposed to be the floor general, an extension of the head coach if you will. Canaan has looked like every bit of that this Summer. Against the Cavaliers, Canaan exploded for 28 points making big buckets late in the game, none more impressive than his 1-on-1 drive to the basket for a layup over Wiggins.
In the semifinal game against the Hornets, Canaan scored 24 points and took over things in the 4th quarter seemingly every time the Rockets needed a bucket. Being there when your team needs you most is a key component when trying to make the next step. He finished the Summer League (8 games) averaging a team-high 17 points and 3.3 assists per game.
While I know Canaan has looked impressive in the Summer League, the NBA games are a different story. The Rockets signed point guard Ishmael Smith last week to a 1-year deal, showing Canaan that no matter what he does in the D-League or Summer League for that matter will not mean anything if you can not produce at the highest level.
So far Canaan has stepped up to the challenge of being a leader to a younger group of guys, and is making major strides from where he was at last season at this point. With the Rockets trading point guard Jeremy Lin away, and Patrick Beverley being the only starter for the Rockets, that back up point guard spot is Canaan’s for the taking.
Canaan has to continue to develop his game and show the coaching staff over the offseason that he can take on the task and play meaningful minutes for the Rockets this season.
Stick with us at House of Houston for all the latest on the Rockets’ offseason. Click here for all the latest stories!