Adelaide 36ers power forward Diamon Simpson has signed with the Houston Rockets (NBA) after a successful debut season in the NBL.
The 6'7" Californian (with a wingspan of almost 7'1") performed admirably for the Sixers in what was ultimately a disappointing season for the young squad overall. Adelaide finished the season with an 8-20 record, putting them dead-last in the 2012 iiNet Championship, but Simpson was a shining light for them all season long.
Simpson averaged 14.6ppg (11th in the league) in just 25 minutes per game. In terms of accuracy, his bruising style of burrowing his way to the basket, often through taller defenders, earned him a league leading 59.2% field goal shooting.
He ranked third in the league at 8.6 rebounds per game -- a fair effort given the limited minutes he was afforded by head coach Marty Clarke.
The Rockets have signed Simpson to a guaranteed contract for the remainder of the NBA season (eight games remaining). He has a non-guaranteed contract for the 2012/13 season, potentially making him a filler piece for trade discussions in the off-season, should he fail to impress in the short time available.
It is questionable as to whether he will see any minutes in Houston, however the Rockets have not been adverse to power forwards on the smaller side in the past. That said, Simpson's style (and wingspan) is anything but small. He has an ability to get to the basket in stagnated post-up situations, through a series of spin and back-down moves, culminating in him taking shots in the chest of taller defenders, negating their ability to block his shot.
He averaged 1.5 blocks per game in the NBL, good for second in the league (3.45 blocks per 48 minutes).
Simpson will wear #20 with the Rockets, who are on the verge of entering the NBA Playoffs (currently sitting eighth in the Western Conference) in what is a major turn of fortunes for the St Mary's product after his season in Adelaide.