On July 13, the Houston Rockets will square up against the Toronto Raptors to kick off their 6-game NBA Summer League schedule in Las Vegas. The Rockets will be utilizing the NBA Summer League to search out possible pieces to their regular season roster puzzle just like the other 23 NBA teams set to take part. Unlike some of the other NBA teams, the Rockets have loaded a roster with 3 studs from the 2011-2012 D-League season. Other squads surely will boast a lineup with a familiar D-League face or two, but it seems the Rockets are particularly loaded in D-League top performer talent.
Houston’s roster will include former D-League standouts Coutney Fortson, Manny Harris, and Greg Smith. All of which received call-ups last season from the D-League and deservedly so. As it stands Rockets GM Daryl Morey will not only be carefully watching his new draftees at the NBA’s Summer League, but also a few respected D-League standouts such as the aforementioned list.
Courtney Fortson averaged 17 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.14 steals for the Los Angeles D-Fenders last season and received a call-up to the Los Angeles Clippers. Fortson helped guide the D-Fenders to the league’s best record in the regular season during his stint with the club.
Manny Harris chalked up averages of 21.4 points, and 3.3 assists last season with the Canton Charge and was called up to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Harris spent the first part of last season rehabbing an injury, but his impressive averages in the D-League could not go unnoticed and allowed Harris an opportunity to share his talents in the NBA once again. Harris will be seeking out an impressive Summer League to once again get him a spot on an NBA roster.
Greg Smith rounds out the D-League standout Summer League players for Houston. Smith averaged 16.6 points and 7.8 boards during his time with Rio Grande Valley last season. Unlike Harris and Fortson, Smith is a big man trying to land a spot on Houston’s permanent regular season roster. Depending on the rest of Morey’s off season moves, Smith may have the best opportunity of suiting up for Houston on a regular basis since they may need some depth at the post position.
Houston has been one of the great franchises as of late to utilize the D-League’s many great qualities that it can lend out. Be sure to watch as these former D-league stars battle it out this summer in Las Vegas.