The Houston Rockets selected Clint Capela with the 25th overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft.
Capela's stock has risen in recent months. Earlier in the year, he was considered largely a second-rounder who could slip into the first. Then, as more and more experts became aware of his talent and upside, the Swiss big man became a surefire first-rounder.
ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) wrote that the Nike Hoop Summit in April may have put a ceiling on where he'd end up falling on draft night:
Capela looked extremely raw on both ends. While he made a number of athletic plays above the rim on both ends in practices, he looked lost among the other elite prospects on the floor. In his first seven minutes of the game Saturday, he picked up four quick fouls and was limited to just one rebound by that point. He finished the game with five points, three rebounds and one assist in 13 minutes of play and watched his stock slide considerably. While the physical talent is clearly there, he didn't look even close to being ready for the NBA. I still think he's a first-round pick if he declares for the draft, but his days of eyeing the lottery may be done unless he redeems himself in workouts.
Despite the obvious drawbacks, it's easy to see why the Rockets were seduced by Capela's potential.
He's listed at 6'11" and possesses a 7'5" wingspan. Those are very similar to Milwaukee Bucks youngster Giannis Antetokounmpo's measurables.
Despite his massive size, Capela can run the floor. He'd thrive in an uptempo offense in which he could really get out in transition.
As you'd expect of somebody with his height and length, Capela can finish around the rim and crash the boards. Most NBA big men will struggle to cope with the Swiss' size and athleticism. Even at his worst, Capela could become a productive rebounder and rim protector.
If he can figure out his jump shot, the sky is the limit.
Like almost every European-based player, Capela still needs a lot of seasoning, though, despite the raw talent alluded to by Ford.
Capela could stand to possibly spend at least another year overseas before he hits the NBA. Antetokounmpo is the exception rather than the rule: Just because he found success with the Bucks so quickly doesn't mean his Swiss counterpart will have as much luck.
But at only 20 years old, Capela still has plenty of time to work it all out.
The Rockets could be stashing Capela away and looking to build around the star-laden lineup featuring Jeremy Lin, Dwight Howard and James Harden. Houston took a gamble taking him so early in the first round, but if the Rockets handle his development correctly, they could have one of the biggest steals of the 2014 draft.
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