After a career year with the Houston Rockets last season, Clint Capela earned himself a five-year, $90 million contract extension this summer.
He was deservedly rewarded for a terrific campaign where he established himself as one of the best centers in the league.
The 24-year-old played a huge role in helping the Rockets reach the Western Conference Finals as he was a dominant presence in the paint on both ends of the floor.
He posted career-highs of 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in the regular season.
The big man also led the league with a field goal percentage of 65.2 due to his ability to finish strongly at the rim.
Capela has made big improvements throughout his four years in the NBA and he’s hoping to make another leap next season by becoming an All-Star.
He admits he was disappointed to have missed out last year but is confident that he’ll get his nod if he continues working and performing at a high level.
“It sucked,” he said about being snubbed for the All-Star team in 2017-18, via Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
“I definitely think I should have been [this year], but I didn’t complain about it.
“It’s all about the consistency. By just doing the work that I do, for sure I’ll be an All-Star next year.”
The Swiss has a specific role on the Rockets where he blocks shots, rebounds, sets screens and gets points in the paint.
But he’s hoping to expand his game by stepping out of his comfort zone and knocking down mid-range shots.
“As a basketball player, I like to do it. Makes me feel good. So yeah, why not?” he said.
“You never say never. You like to expand your game, and I like to expand my game.”
Not his strength
Capela has never been a confident shooter during his career, as evidenced by his 48 percent career free throw percentage.
However, he can potentially add another weapon to the Houston offence if he develops a consistent jump shot.
Head coach Mike D’Antoni often sits Capela at moments in the game when he elects to go small and he did so regularly against the Golden State Warriors in the conference finals.
Despite averaging a career-best 27.5 minutes a night, the double-double machine is hoping to get more playing time next season, especially in the games that matter.
“Every minute that I play, I have to earn it,” said Capela, “Lately I’ve been playing good so I get more minutes.
“Even when I don’t play as much, Coach [D’Antoni] gets to give opportunities to other guys out there so it’s okay.
“For me, I want to be out on the floor during important games, and the close games. I want to be out with them on the court.”
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