NBA Roundtable

Rockets Waive Pops

In General NBA on November 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm

The Houston Chronicle reports

With a pair of moves Friday made for very different reasons, one surprising and one expected, the undersized Rockets trimmed two big men from their roster, sending center Joey Dorsey to the NBA Development League and waiving forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

The reason for the move

Mensah-Bonsu, however, had played well enough in the preseason to move past Dorsey, and had played 13 minutes in four of the Rockets’ eight games. The Rockets wanted the roster spot open should they need a fill-in, a concern that became more obvious when Aaron Brooks turned his ankle on Tuesday even though Brooks did not miss any playing time.

“Flexibility-wise, we obviously have the ability to now use that spot, depending on the greatest need at that point,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “Also, it gives us the ability to call people up and down from Rio Grande.”

“What it (waiving Mensah-Bonsu) does, it gives us flexibility to bring guys up and down if we have a need on roster,” Rockets vice president and Vipers general manager Gersson Rosas said. “Maybe Will Conroy (whom the Rockets cut, but is not in the D-League) returns. Maybe a guy at (Vipers) camp does well, and we bring him up. That flexibility goes a long way. It allows us to evaluate talent on the D-League level and maybe in the NBA.”

Rockets Big Man Rotation

The Rockets have three locks in their rotation when healthy

  • Luis Scola — the team’s best player and starting power forward
  • Chuck Hayes — the team’s best defender
  • Carl Landry — Key bench player. Either sixth or seventh man.

Houston also has three other big men to choose from

  • David Andersen — only seven footer on the roster
  • Brian Cook — Perimeter jump shooter
  • Joey Dorsey — Young and explosive defender + rebounder

Currently the Rockets are using David Andersen in that fourth big role and have Brian Cook as their insurance fifth big in the rotation. If you click the link at the top of the page (Houston Chronicle) you’ll see that the Rockets have sent Joey Dorsey down to the D-League to get more experience.

I haven’t seen much of David Andersen play yet, but, in the few glimpses I’ve seen I’ve him he looks like (1) a negative on the defensive end (2) a very poor rebounder (3) a skilled complementary offensive player with a good-to-very good jump shot. Nice pick and roll/pop option.

If that evaluation rings true — which is impossible for me to say because I haven’t seen enough him — then I think the Rockets are better off playing Joey Dorsey as their fourth big man. Dorsey is a plus defensive player with excellent defensive potential (in other words, he’ll improve the more he plays) and is an excellent rebounder. I think those contributions would prove more valuable than Andersen’s.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu

There was never any great need for Pops on the Rockets roster. They had six big men already who provided a wide range of skills/options for the coaching staff to deploy. So no surprise that Pops didn’t make an impact there.

That said, Pops is an NBA level player. An insurance guy who you have at the end of your roster. A decent defender, good-to-very good rebounder, and poor offensive player. An athletic combo-forward type of power forward.

Some team should pick Pops up. He could be a valuable addition down the road.

Although, unfortunately, I remember saying the same thing in the summers of 2007 + 2008 and nobody picked him up either time. Pops wasn’t given another NBA opportunity until sometime in the new year last season when the Spurs noticed his quality play in Europe + the D-League. So some team should sign him but it may not happen.

Toronto Raptors

Colangelo comment via RealGM

The Raptors will consider adding Pops Mensah-Bonsu.

Houston placed Mensah-Bonsu on waivers on Friday, and Toronto cleared a roster spot on Thursday by waiving guard Quincy Douby.

“The timing is purely coincidental,” said Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo.

“He’s someone we would have to consider, but I’ve heard there may be a deal in Europe in place for him.”

The Raptors already have five established big men in Chris Bosh, Andrea Bargnani, Amir Johnson, Reggie Evans and Rasho Nesterovic. There doesn’t appear to be any role available for Pops. Amir Johnson can provide the athleticism + rebounding at the power forward position that Pops offered.

Colangelo also has — I can’t even think of his name he’s so useless — that seven footer. Bradley. Patrick O’Bryant. Colangelo also has Patrick O’Bryant on the roster who he choose to keep ahead of Pops last time around giving the Raptors six bigs.

It looks unlikely that the Raptors interest in Pops is serious. Most likely it’s a nod of appreciation for his past work. A courtesy call or comment rather a signal of a new contract offer. And even if the Raptors do sign Pops, there doesn’t appear to be a role available for him anyway.

Side Note: Could Pops work as a small forward? In ordinary circumstances I’d hate the idea but maybe while playing alongside two bigs (Bosh/Bargnani) who have perimeter skills? I don’t know. Something to ponder.

  1. How about San Antonio?

    They have no option at power forward who is capable of matching up with small ball lineups, athletic power forwards, or perimeter orientated power forwards? Pops could provide that. He could also play some defense and improve the rebounding.

    I think that could be an interesting home for him. Then again, he was there last season and Popovich passed on him despite having the exact same needs then.

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