Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
While it is always important for NBA teams to develop their young players, the process of converting talented prospects into productive professionals is often a lengthy one. And though there are obvious benefits to developing young talent, there are also major risks and drawbacks in giving extended minutes to rookies.
With these dangers in mind, Kevin McHale has wisely chosen to limit the playing time of Houston’s rookie power forwards, Donatas Motiejunas and Terrence Jones, this season.
By allowing these young players to grow mainly through practice and brief D-League stints, McHale has kept his team highly competitive and successfully milked the production of two more seasoned 4s, Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris.
Though the front office apparently disagreed with this approach (as evidenced by the recent departure of Patterson and Morris in exchange for yet another rookie power forward), McHale was wise to favor experience in attempting to lead this team to the postseason.
Expect the rookies to get a lot more run now, with Motiejunas moving into the starting lineup and Thomas Robinson sure to get plenty of minutes. Fortunately, Houston’s first-year players are much more prepared now than they were a few months ago, so the Rockets should have little trouble staying afloat despite the roster changes.