Garrett Temple driving against fellow NBA prospect (and former SEC foe) Joe Crawford. (Photo Courtesy Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images)
While Temple is averaging a rather pedestrian 14.9 points, 3.7 boards and 3.4 assists while shooting 43% from the field and 37% from beyond the arc, he knows the system and fills a void with both Trevor Ariza and Kyle Lowry expected to not be available until after the all-star break.
Temple started his career with the Rockets as a Vegas Summer League invite, where he averaged 4.6 points per game over the course of five games. He apparently impressed Rockets GM Daryl Morey enough to get an invite to play for the Rockets this Fall, however. In the preseason, Temple appeared in four games with the Rockets, though didn't make much of an impact averaging 2.5 points over four appearances, though he was released in the first round of cuts.
Temple was described as a do-it-all, defensive stopper during his four seasons as an LSU Tiger, never scoring very well, but he finished his college career as the only player in school history in the top 10 in career assists, steals and blocked shots.
For the Vipers, he's taken more of a scoring role, potentially being one of the better isolation players in the D-League - his typical gameplan seems to be get the ball, use his first step to get the defender off balance, pretend like he's going to drive the lane and drop a 17-foot jumper. In last night's nationally televised VERSUS game, Temple hit 6-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point land, to finish 16 points, six boards and five assists in 36 minutes of action.
In the NBA I have no idea what he'll be asked to do, aside from be a practice body, because I'd assume Jermaine Taylor will play ahead of him, and Taylor doesn't get many minutes the way it is.
If I was a D-League player right now, I'd demand a trade to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Specifically if my name was Romel Beck, because if he was a Viper, I can almost guarantee that he would be a Rocket tomorrow. They've been using the D-League so well, it'd be crazy if another NBA team doesn't try doing the same thing next season (buying the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team, if you weren't familiar).
To make room for Temple, the Rockets will be releasing Will Conroy back to the Vipers.