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Jack Sikma helping Rockets rookie Capela with Vipers

Discussion in 'Rio Grande Valley Vipers' started by HoopScribe, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. HoopScribe

    HoopScribe Member

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    http://www.themonitor.com/sports/ho...cle_cab4b0cc-b3ff-11e4-8b40-23896dee5eb2.html

    (The link includes video highlights of Capela.)

    ====================================

    Posted: Friday, February 13, 2015 10:13 pm

    DENNIS SILVA II | STAFF WRITER

    HIDALGO — The Houston Rockets’ pet project this season has been the development of 2014 first-round draft pick Clint Capela, a 6-foot-10, 245-pound center.

    The Rockets have kept a close eye on Capela as he has spent much of this season with the Vipers in the NBA D-League. They’ve gone as far as to have the Switzerland product work exclusively with Jack Sikma, a 14-year NBA veteran (1977-1991) and seven-time NBA All-Star who spent the last 11 years as an NBA assistant coach.

    Sikma, 59, was looking toward this season as a sabbatical after Rick Adelman, whose staff Sikma was on in Minnesota since 2011, left the Timberwolves after the 2013-14 campaign. But in visiting training camps in October, Sikma was approached by Rockets Executive VP of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas about joining Houston as an independent consultant and college scout.

    “The key connection is I played and coached bigs in the league for a long time and they felt I could be an asset down here on an ongoing basis for Clint,” said Sikma, a 6-foot-11 center who was an NBA champion with the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics and is awaiting his opportunity to return to an NBA bench.

    Since then, Sikma, who coached four seasons under Adelman with the Rockets from 2007-2011, has worked 7-8 days each of the last three months visiting the Valley to work with Capela, helping establish a plan for the 20-year-old.

    That plan started with making sure Capela’s court time consisted of quality minutes — being “engaged in the play,” as Sikma called it — as he recovered from a preseason groin injury. That has come to fruition, as Capela’s restriction on minutes has grown from 15 in November to 30 this month.

    “With Clint, and everyone agrees and this is coming from up top, it’s just really important for him to play 5-on-5 at some level where it’s competitive,” Sikma said. “He missed a lot of time with injury and he’s not real experienced to begin with.”

    Capela has emerged from bit player to averaging 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 21.9 minutes in 23 games.

    “Last year, I was in France and working with someone like Jack was like a dream,” Capela said. “Now that I’m with him, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can. I’m feeling better and better.”

    Sikma points to a game-winning play Capela made last week against the Texas Legends in which he sprinted the court after a Legends turnover, read the defense and found an opening to receive a pass for an alley-oop lay-in with 3.4 seconds remaining.

    “That’s a play that I’m not sure he makes early in the season; a play like that doesn’t come from individual practice,” said Sikma, who likens Capela’s raw physical ability to the Dallas Mavericks’ Tyson Chandler. “It comes from 5-on-5 experience, when you’re used to getting to your spot and knowing when you’re a threat.”

    Capela has many positives. His footwork and hands are good, he has a quick second jump and he has established himself as a defensive presence.

    “The big thing with Clint moving forward is developing core strength,” Sikma said. “He’s long, but he’s not very wide in ability to hold position. He’s got narrow hips. The post game will take a while.”

    Capela is also being told to communicate more, and that was evident last Sunday in the Vipers’ game against Texas. Capela barked out screens on defense and vocally worked teammates through situations.

    It is something that was absent earlier this season and has taken time to develop. French is Capela’s first language.

    “I’ve got to keep talking,” Capela said. “That’s the most important thing. English is my second language, so it’s tough. Sometimes I can’t understand everything, but it comes with improvement. I need to do it.”

    Second-year Vipers coach Nevada Smith has welcomed Sikma’s influence with open arms.

    Smith said he has seen vast improvement in Capela’s face-up game, a popular trait of Sikma’s when he was a player. Sikma has also been a boon for a young coaching staff that includes assistant coaches Chris Johnson and Jason Young, both in their first year as coaches on the professional level.

    “Jack’s the best. He’s just got so much to give,” Smith said. “We don’t have that experience in our locker room. We have a young staff, so to have a guy who’s been through a lot definitely helps us out.”

    The important thing, Sikma said, is everybody, from the top of the Rockets on down through the Vipers, “is pulling on the same rope.”

    “Clint’s exactly what they hoped this relationship with the D-League would help them do, which is develop a young player under their control, their style of play,” Sikma said. “The key thing for a young player is you’ve got to be better tomorrow than you are today.”

    dsilva@themonitor.com
     
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  2. dmoneybangbang

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    Love updates/stories like this.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. BimaThug

    BimaThug Resident Capologist
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    I don't post in this forum often, but I do really appreciate seeing stories about the Vipers here and do come here to read them. Keep them coming!
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    The Rockets have seems to have more big guy coaches under contract than any other team. McHale, Hakeem, CD and now Sikma.
     
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  5. NotChandlerParsons

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    This is the kind of stuff that gives us a leg up on other teams. It's not a big deal on its own but them constantly making investments like this is why we are better at drafting and player development. Sikma was a very polished, well-rounded offensive big and hopefully Capela will take after him (in a few years).
     
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  6. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Great article, thanks for posting.

    Re: CC

    is he 'two years from being two years to be ready' or is his future visible out there?

    are the Rox committed to retain him until he's ready to join the rotation?
     
  7. Carl Herrera

    Carl Herrera Contributing Member

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    The Rockets are not "committed" to anything, at least not some rookie late 1st rounder. He is a prospect and an asset.
     
  8. j@amc

    j@amc Member

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    The sky is the limit for Capella. First tier power forward here. He looks better than Ibaka at the same age (except Ibaka did have a jump shot by this point).

    Capella has way more talent than any big not named Howard on the current roster. For someone who has as little experience as he currently has, he's shows rare natural instincts- in the post, on the glass, shot blocking, and team defender.

    I love what Motiejunas brings to the table; hope he sticks.
    T. Jones has talent but does he have the work ethic? Who knows?

    Write it down. Capella is future.

    We just need patience, and he needs time.
     
  9. AroundTheWorld

    Supporting Member

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    j@amc - I believe you, because you are not a man of many words, so I guess when you speak up, you really mean it ;).
     
  10. No Chance

    No Chance Contributing Member

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    I was glad that he was not traded at trade deadline. I think the Rockets should keep and fully develop our own talent.

    Cannot belive he weighs as much as 245 , he looks leaner then that.
     
  11. XxTCNxX

    XxTCNxX Member

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    Bruh he hasn't even made a single point in the NBA
     
  12. joeson332

    joeson332 Member

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    T Jones has plenty of work ethic fam
     
  13. Williamson

    Williamson JOSH CHRISTOPHER ONLY FAN
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    You see a lot of talk around here at times about how the Rockets aren't invested in developing young talent anymore. I have been citing Chandler Parsons, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas as examples that defy that belief - but seeing that they have literally hired Jack Sikma just to individually coach Clint Capella? I don't want to hear it anymore. I'm really impressed to see how much they're investing in this kid's future.
     
  14. j@amc

    j@amc Member

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    T Jones has been playing terrific - even to the point of making me eat my words. I love it and I hope he keeps getting better.

    But does he have better upside than Capela? I'm not sure. Capela regularly finishes through contact - leaving the ground outside the restricted circle. An above rim player both ways. What a talent.

    • 20 years old! - 2 years of international experience - 1 year in the D-League
    • 23 Minutes a game/ 63% from the field / 15.6 pts, 9 reb, 3 blocks a game
     
  15. Ziggy

    Ziggy QUEEN ANON

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    Good point on playing above them rim. That's a rare quality for a Rockets post player these days. I'm all for Sikma helping, I love it, but he needs to focus on defense first and foremost. He has the physical tools to become an elite defender.
     
  16. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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  17. TurtleBonzi

    TurtleBonzi Member

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    His ceiling is through the roof. Glad we have a player on our roster whose potential is unattainable.

    -JSmoove
     

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