Last year at this time, Chase Budinger was the talk of the NBA Summer League with his torrid shooting. Now it’s Houston coach Rick Adelman doing the talking without all the compliments and some suggestions.
Adelman pulled Budinger aside Saturday night after the former UA wing player looked tentative again in a 3-of-7 shooting performance from the field, including 0-of-1 from three-point range, in Houston’s 87-78 win over Dallas at the Cox Pavilion. After two games, Budinger has played the most minutes for the Rockets (57:44 overall) and he’s made only 8-of-21 from the field (38 percent), including 0-of-4 from three-point range.
Last year, he made 68 percent of his field goals here and converted on 8-of-11 three-pointers in five games.
Different from last year, Houston wants to see how Budinger handles a playmaking role off screens, or if he can create on his own. He has five assists and three turnovers, which in Adelman’s eyes means he is not forcing the issue enough and getting others involved.
“We know he’s a great spot-up shooter,” Adelman said. “We want him to attack and handle the ball and try to expand his game so he can be more effective. He has to be more aggressive and be more attacking. He can pass the ball. He can do a lot of things. But he has to make it happen.”
Budinger is trying to get acclimated to an entirely different role than he had last year in Las Vegas. Last summer, he was hungry for a spot in the NBA and played with that type of passion. Now, more is expected of him, and his mental game has to adjust along with the physical aspect of being more of a ball handler.