Houston - The Rockets welcomed two of the newest members of the team as 2014 draft picks Clint Capela and Nick Johnson were introduced to Houston with a press conference Monday morning.
With both players flanking his sides, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed his enthusiasm for what these two young talents will be able to bring to the team while discussing the club’s short and long term plans to ensure they meet their substantial potential.
“(Johnson) is a winner, athletic, can defend multiple spots, and really adds a potential element that we’re excited about,” Morey said. “Clint Capela, folks in the States haven’t had much of a chance to see him, but he’s a top young big in the French League and really all of Europe. Really right away he provides defense, rebounding, shot blocking with a ton of potential with his size and length. He’s somebody who’s really excited to get his career going.
“We’ve met with his agent and we’re still working together on the best possible plan for him. We have a great track record with developing young bigs whether it be Patrick Patterson who went on to be a starter, or Donatas Motiejunas who’s a rotation player or Terrence Jones who’s obviously a starter. We’re going to work together and put together a plan. He’s 20-years-old and has a big future and we’re going to do what’s best for all parties.
“Nick’s going to play in Summer League (note: Johnson will take part in both the Orlando and Las Vegas Summer Leagues). With Clint, it’s a little more complicated because he’s leaving a professional contract in Europe. It may take us some time to work out the details with FIBA. Don’t expect Clint to be in Orlando, and there’s a chance for Vegas – that’s where that’s at right now.”
While Capela reiterated how eager he is to begin his NBA journey, he also shared that he’s especially focused on improving his post moves, midrange shot and overall strength so that he can better handle the physical nature of the league’s interior play. Johnson, meanwhile, expressed a desire to make strides as a playmaker with the ball in his hands at both the one- and two-spots, but fully understands that the best way for him to make his mark early on will be by applying tremendous, tenacious effort on the defensive end.
“I’m just going to do whatever it takes for me to earn a role on this team,” he said. “I’m going to work hard … I’m going to play hard on defense and show my athleticism, and I’m going to live in the gym.
“If you look back at my career, that’s what I’m about: I want to win and I’ll do anything to win and whatever my team asks me to do. I’m excited.”
Not present at Monday’s press conference was Houston’s third selection last week, Allesandro Gentile, who just wrapped up a season in which he earned Finals MVP honors after leading his club to the Italian League championship. Morey said it’s still to soon to say whether or not Gentile will be able to join the Rockets in time for the 2014-15 season.
“He’s somebody who’s already so highly regarded in Europe and more ready to play. He’s somebody we’re in discussions about when and if he might come over. He’s somebody with a lot of pedigree even though he’s only 21 having won the championship just now and being the best player in the Italian League so that’s something that we have to continue to talk with his agent and with him about and see what the best plan is.”