With their one and only pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Houston Rockets selected Isaiah Canaan - a 22 year old point guard out of Murray State. With Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley and Aaron Brooks already on the roster, it was clear that they weren't looking for Canaan to produce right out of the gates, which made it seem as though he was destined for the D-League as soon as he signed his three-year contract. And sure enough, the Rockets assigned him - as well as fellow rookie Robert Covington - to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers almost immediately, in time for their training camp.
In the Vipers' opening three games of the season, Canaan struggled, scoring 16.6 points per game on 32.6 percent shooting from the field. He has been doing a great job of getting his teammates involved - he is currently leading the league with 10.5 assists per game - but his shoddy shooting numbers were slightly concerning, especially since he was considered by many as one of the best shooters off the dribble and from three coming out of college.
But against the Texas Legends on Monday, Canaan found his shooting stroke again, scoring 25 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor and 7-for-12 from three. He also handed out 10 assists, pulled down four rebounds and grabbed one steal in another monstrous win for the Vipers.
In a similar way to how I talked about Troy Daniels being in a perfect place with the Vipers, Canaan couldn't be happier with the situation he is currently in. The Vipers' high pace, run-and-gun system allows him to stick to his strengths, which is jack up threes to his hearts content, push the ball on the fast-break and attack the rim with reckless abandon.
So far, it's been a great fit, even though he has struggled with his jump-shot. After all, the Vipers are 4-0 and have won each game by an average of 12.2 points. They also rank 1st in the D-League in points per game, 2nd in rebounds per game and 3rd in assists per game. And if Monday night was a sign that their starting point guard is starting to get his feet wet, well, those numbers should only get better...if that's possible.