Sam Dekker is one of seven players traded to the LA Clippers for Chris Paul. The small forward has averaged 6.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in his two years in the league.
We awoke to some somber news here on the west coast of Los Angeles. Chris Paul opted-in to his contract, but only under the agreement that the Clippers agreed to trade him to the Houston Rockets. Among a record breaking eight players in the two-team trade, small forward Sam Dekker is one of the key pieces.
Dekker has spent just two seasons in the NBA, averaging a career 17.8 minutes per game in just 80 games played. His rookie year, Dekker was almost non-exsistent. He appeared in just three games for the Rockets, averaging 2.0 minutes per game with little to no stats. He was sidelined in November of 2015 undergoing back surgery. In his short career with the Rockets, the team held a record of 52-25 when Dekker appears in a game.
Last season is when Dekker really got his chance to play some regular minutes for the Rockets and he has shown great improvements. He showed flashes of being an elite scorer from both inside and outside the three point line. Although he averaged just 6.5 points per game last season, he had 15 games in which he scored 10 or more points. This included two games in which he scored 17 against Golden State and 30 against Memphis in back-to-back games.
Prior to the end of the season, Dekker broke his hand in a game forcing him to miss the remaining five games. He was also forced to sit out the first series of the playoffs against the Thunder.
The loss of Dekker proved some-what significant to the Rockets as they lost the versatility that Dekker brought to the game. James Herbert of CBSSports wrote:
"Dekker has almost exclusively played power forward for Houston lately, using his quickness and ability to switch onto smaller players to his advantage.Without Dekker, D’Antoni doesn’t have another guy quite like that, but he has a few options."
He did finally return to the lineup in Game 1 of the second round against the San Antonio Spurs. He ended that series averaging 2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting .500 from the three point line in just 7.8 minutes per game.
In his first full season, Dekker showed his ability to stretch the entire court. As you read above, the 6-foot 9-inch forward showcased his ability to play at both the small and power forward position. While stretching both of those positions, Dekker also showed his ability to switch off and defend against guards who came inside the three point line.
As we all know, the Clippers have been desperate to find a small forward. Small forwards seem to come-and-go for LA. However, Sam Dekker is just 23 years old and still has plenty of years in front of him to grow. The Clippers have the ability to help mold him into the small forward they need. Between him and the addition of Danilo Gallinari, the Clippers have more depth at small forward then they’ve ever had.
To get you hype and out of your post-CP3 depression, here are a few highlights from Dekker’s time with Houston:
Be ready to welcome Sam Dekker on Tuesday at the LA Clippers introductory press conference and give him a follow on Twitter. And as always, make sure to keep checking back here at Clipperholics for all your news and updates and make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!