Houston Rockets: How Clint Capela can steal the Most Improved Player Award

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 02: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 02: Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets PG Chris Paul
HOUSTON, TX – MAY 08: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets drives past Royce O’Neale #23 of the Utah Jazz as he receives a pick from Clint Capela #15 during Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on May 8, 2018 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

Why Capela has been nominated

But you know what?  Through all of that — our beloved center that we’ve watched develop in front of our eyes was here for all of it.  Yes, I’m talking about Clint Capela, one of the greatest NBA success stories that you’ll want to hear about.

In just four seasons under his belt, he has emerged as what I’d like to call a “new age” center, one who isn’t traditionally ball-dominant, where he can rebound, block shots and score his points mostly off open looks in the mid-range. And in especially Capela’s case, alley-oop dunks.  They’ve worked the pick-and-roll to precision to ensure that he’s open for these opportunities and he is up for the challenge with each game that he takes to the floor.

To be honest — there were times that I was worried if Capela would come around as he’d get beat by the stronger and faster centers on regular basis when he was younger.  But he combated that — especially working with Hakeem Olajuwon — on how to best use his strengths to make inroads in this league.

I had the opportunity to meet Capela back last year at a corporate event to which he’s a representative for — I’m an accomplished salesman by day and help run this Web site at night — and I asked him about his experiences working with Olajuwon.  He specifically emphasized that he didn’t want to emulate his game after Hakeem but wanted to use his techniques to best suit his tangibles to be successful.

That’s happened and we’re now witnessing one of the premier defensive players in this league and it all happened over the course of these last four seasons.  I’m sure we didn’t all expect this out of a late, first-round 2014 draft pick but he’s been everything we wanted him to be and more.

And because of his efforts, he’s going to be rewarded with a maximum contract offer that the Houston Rockets will have no choice to match.  They absolutely cannot let that man walk and some tough choices will have to be made in regard to shaping the roster moving forward.  Hopefully this team wins the championship — they’ve still got a long way to go — so those aforementioned difficult decisions can be easier to make.