Houston Rockets retro: Otis Thorpe in today’s NBA

Otis Thorpe has long been the subject of great intrigue amongst Rockets fans from the 90’s if for no greater reason than that he’s largely disappeared from the public eye. He was a pivotal piece of the first title team—and the lead up to it—was traded, and then sort of faded into oblivion during the remainder of his career.

I recently found myself horrified at my own thoughts upon questioning whether Thorpe would even make an NBA roster today. It may seem ludicrous given that Thorpe was a former All-Star and long one of the most dependable power forwards in the Western Conference, but it’s a serious question. Thorpe had no range to speak of, attempting 0.1 threes per game for his career. And while he was considered one of the best low post defenders in basketball, he was never a rim protector. In fact, Thorpe averaged only 0.4 blocks per game for his career with a high mark of 0.7 back in 1987.

While he averaged 14 points per game, most of that was of the garbage variety. I don’t seem to recall any postup abilities from my recollection of 1994. And despite being an imposing physical presence, Otis also didn’t live above the rim.

It all goes to show just how much the game has evolved. I don’t know that Clint Capela, who the Rockets just tied up for a king’s ransom, would have served as more useful to the ‘94 Rockets than Thorpe. Where Capela is one of the league’s best rim protectors and perimeter defenders, he struggles inside with physical opponents. Those Rockets had to go through the likes of Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Charles Oakley.

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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Wijnand SchinkelclownicleredninetyfourTLC Recent comment authors
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TLC
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TLC

Otis is a less athletic and probably less energetic Kenneth Faried. Zero value in today’s NBA.

redninetyfour
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redninetyfour

harsh, but so true.

clownicle
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clownicle

BS

Otis as a center in today’s NBA would be an asset just based on his rebounding (which would skyrocket today) and physicality.

Those two are enough to make him a solid defensive presence in the middle for any team. There are at least 20 big guys in the leage that have jobs and offer LESS than Otis would today.

Yall act like just because he’s not a shooter or great scorer that he has no value. That’s silly and reductive.

Tarik Black had a job for years. Chuck Hayes too. Dwayne Dedmon. Alex Len. Come on guys.

clownicle
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clownicle

BS

Otis as a center in today’s NBA would be an asset just based on his rebounding (which would skyrocket today) and physicality.

Those two are enough to make him a solid defensive presence in the middle for any team. There are at least 20 big guys in the leage that have jobs and offer LESS than Otis would today.

Yall act like just because he’s not a shooter or great scorer that he has no value. That’s silly and reductive.

Tarik Black had a job for years. Chuck Hayes too. Dwayne Dedmon. Alex Len. Come on man

redninetyfour
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redninetyfour

The fact that you’re comparing a fringe All-Star from the 90s to Tarik Black sort of makes my point.

clownicle
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clownicle

It really doesn’t. Unless your point is “Thorpe would be solid today.”

However, your point seems to be that Thorpe wouldn’t be in the nba today which is ridiculous. His strengths in the 90s would carry over and then some as a center (not PF) in today’s game. Rebounds. Physicality. Defense. No, he wouldn’t light up the scoreboard or spread the floor. But his strengths are still valuable commodities in big men today. Y’all talking like he’d be out of the league..

TLC
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TLC

I just said he would have zero value. Udonis Haslem is an apt comparison to Otis Thorpe. Faried. Joakim Noah. Tarik Black, chuck hayes and them are all out of the league by the way.

Wijnand Schinkel
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Wijnand Schinkel

Noah is a two-time NBA All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 2014 when he also was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

There for, Otis Thorpe would indeed be of great value in todays game.

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