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Rockets Stephen Silas Regrets Coaching of David Nwaba: 'I Could've Done Better'

Following David Nwaba's departure to the Thunder, Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas gave an honest evaluation when reflecting on his former player.

HOUSTON — When the Houston Rockets took a trip to the Bahamas in September of 2021, David Nwaba took Josh Christopher under his wing. Christopher had joined the team two months before the trip after the Rockets made him their fourth and final pick (No. 24 overall) during the 2021 NBA Draft. 

Nwaba paid for Christopher's dinners during their short stay in the Bahamas. And throughout his rookie campaign, Christopher noticed that he and Nwaba shared similar traits as two-way athletic guards who can push the pace.

"David is an amazing person and super fun to be around," Christopher said. "He was a hard worker no matter what his situation was last year. He stayed in the lab and kept working. Wherever he ends up, he'll be ready."

Christopher entered training camp preparing for his second season with Nwaba as a teammate. But when the Rockets open their first preseason game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, Christopher will no longer have Nwaba as a veteran.

Thursday evening, the Rockets packaged Nwaba and three other players to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Derrick Favors, Ty Jerome, Moe Harkless, Theo Maledon and a 2025 second-round pick.

Nwaba's departure reminded Christopher that the Rockets are still in the early stages of a rebuild — given another significant roster change. But for coach Stephen Silas, Nwaba's jettison brought a sense of regret. 

"I could've done a better job coaching him," Silas said. "I went too long of stretches without playing him last season. The energy that he brought to the court and the things that he could do on the floor, throwing him into the game more is something I could have done."

Silas had an opportunity to express his regrets to Nwaba in person during training camp in Lake Charles. Silas said there were times Nwaba would go as many as 14 consecutive games without playing and blames no one but himself for the decision. 

But Silas appreciated Nwaba as a veteran he could rely upon throughout his first two years as head coach of the Rockets.

One of Nwaba's most memorable moments with the Rockets took place in March of 2021. Nwaba played through a severely injured wrist during the Rockets 133-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. He scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the loss.

"When I look back at my time with David, I kick myself a little bit," Silas said. "You are always learning and thinking about different situations and how to get better. But that's one where I could have done better."

Nwaba joined the Rockets in June of 2020 as a free agent. He appeared in 76 games and averaged 6.7 points on 48.5 percent shooting from the field and 3.5 rebounds during his two-year stint with the Rockets. 

You can follow Coty M. Davis on Twitter at @CotyDavis_24

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