Bickerstaff tosses out little-used K.J. McDaniels to do the dirty work

Houston Rockets guard K.J. McDaniels.
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images

There were some interesting stat lines to come out of Wednesday’s Detroit-Houston game. Certainly Andre Drummond’s 13-of-36 from the foul line and 17 points on two made buckets was one. And James Harden’s 33 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists was another.

But look down at the bottom of Houston’s box score and you’ll see one more. K.J. McDaniels logged 30 seconds of game time and rapidly stuffed one category: Fouls. McDaniels committed five fouls as Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff’s chosen hit man. Bickerstaff started McDaniels in the second half for the sole purpose of fouling Drummond. And he did. Five times in nine seconds.

McDaniels, who assumes end-of-bench duties under Bickerstaff, took the high road afterward.

McDaniels obviously doesn’t have much choice but to adhere to his coach’s orders. But it’s also a bad look for Bickerstaff to resort to using a reserve buried on his bench to carry out a hack-a-strategy to preserve fouls on his regular rotation players. As soon as McDaniels committed his fifth foul, Bickerstaff replaced him with Corey Brewer.

The Rockets traded for McDaniels near the trade deadline last year. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard and former second-round pick, has gone from playing 25 minutes a game at Philadelphia to rarely stepping foot on the floor in Houston.

Sending him out like that is embarrassing for the player. However, judging by Bickerstaff’s comment after the 123-114 loss, maybe McDaniels won’t have to worry about carrying out those orders again.