Having monitored him closely with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and bringing him up with the Rockets, it seemed as though Houston would have been a solid longterm fit for Tim Ohlbrecht.
In addition to appearing in three games for the Rockets last season, Ohlbrecht emerged as an NBADL All-Star and also (while on assignment) helped lead the Vipers to a D-League title.
That's not bad for his first year playing ball in America. Considered Germany's (second) best (home grown) player behind Dirk Nowitzki, Ohlbrecht made as quick of an adjustment as there could be for a player moving over to the states, and started to show signs of very promising potential. Clearly, Houston's scouting and development staffs took notice.
As bright as Ohlbrecht's future in Houston may have first appeared (he signed a multi-year partially guaranteed deal in February), subsequent acquisitions by a team can change everything. It seems as though the Rockets' signing of Dwight Howard might have done just that.
The team will likely have enough trouble juggling Omer Asik's minutes (if he doesn't get traded) in conjunction with Howard's, let alone Ohlbrecht's. Perhaps when they released the 25 year old in mid-July, they did him a favor.
But the apple (for recognizing potential) doesn't fall too far from the tree, apparently. In addition to trading for Royce White, new 76ers General Manager (and former Houston executive) Sam Hinkie claimed both Ohlbrecht and James Anderson off waivers. All three players are D-League alumni for Houston's affiliate, Rio Grande Valley.
Ohlbrecht now enters a very interesting new opportunity in Philadelphia. For a rebuilding team looking to stack up on young talent and explore any and all options for potential success, the big man is certainly worthy of being considered as a piece for the future. And although the 76ers traded for Nerlens Noel, there's no doubt the former could play valuable minutes behind the latter, or even next to him at the power forward position.
That's because Ohlbrecht does an array of different things well on the basketball court. The big man averaged 13.4 points (on 61% from the field), 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.1 steals through 32 D-League contests last season. What's more, he posted up similar numbers while back on assignment with RGV throughout their postseason run to The Finals.
Ohlbrecht is an interesting player, to say the least. He has very good hands and can work his way around defenders to finish under the basket. He's assertive offensively and plays to his strengths. He can certainly dunk the basketball if need be, but also has a nice touch of finesse around the basket as well.
Though that may indeed be the case offensively, he's just as physical on the defensive end. He fights for rebounds, uses his long arms to swat shots away, and uses his good hands to poke the ball away from opposing scorers. He's very alert on the court and has solid instincts.
There are easily so many things to be excited about with Ohlbrecht, but the journey continues as he adjusts from the international game. So far, so good, however.
Whereas in Houston, he may have spent more time in the D-League once again this coming season, it'll be interesting to see if he sees any more time on the big league hardwood with Philadelphia. Though the 76ers have entered camp with Noel, Spencer Hawes, and Kwame Brown all already on board, the intrigue surrounding Ohlbrecht should be that not only does he offer a varied skill set, but he can also play next to any one of those other big man.
It'll be interesting to see if he gets the chance to do so.