Southwest Notes: Eason, Brooks, Biyombo, Wemby

Rockets forward Tari Eason is nearing a return from the leg injury that has sidelined him for the first two weeks of the 2022/23 season, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (subscription required). According to Feigen, head coach Ime Udoka said on Monday that Eason will practice on Tuesday and could be cleared to play in Wednesday’s game vs. the Lakers.

The second-year forward missed the Rockets’ final three preseason games and has been out for the club’s first six regular season contests due to a stress reaction in his left leg. Eason is one of Houston’s stronger defenders, so the team – which is riding a three-game winning streak – could use benefit from his presence on the wing.

“He’s a guy that kind of comes up with everything all the time,” Udoka said of Eason last week. “A great offensive rebounder. Just some grit and toughness that he brings. I think that physicality, obviously, is beneficial for our group. He does some things that are very instinctual and natural for him that we stressed.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • While he’s known for his defense, offseason addition Dillon Brooks is providing the Rockets with solid offensive play in the early going this season, Feigen writes in another subscriber-only story for The Houston Chronicle. Brooks has posted a scorching hot .593/.565/.938 shooting line through his first six games in Houston.
  • In his second game with the Grizzlies on Sunday, Bismack Biyombo was the team’s starting center, replacing Xavier Tillman (knee) and logging 26 minutes. The big man helped Memphis secure its first win of the season by putting up eight points, 11 rebounds four assists, and three blocked shots. Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the story on Biyombo’s instant impact in the middle.
  • The Grizzlies signed Biyombo to his one-year, $5MM contract using a portion of their non-taxpayer mid-level exception, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. The Grizzlies also could have signed Biyombo using a disabled player exception if they were granted one for Steven Adams‘ season-ending knee injury, but there has been no confirmation yet that the team has been approved for a DPE for Adams.
  • The Spurs have a 110.9 defensive rating when Victor Wembanyama is on the court compared to a disastrous 129.4 mark when he sits, a remarkable split for a rookie, albeit in a small sample. Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News (subscriber link) and Kelly Iko of The Athletic take a closer look at the impact that the No. 1 pick is having on defense for San Antonio.
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