Danuel House Making Strong Case For Rockets Starting Role
Danuel House will make his tenth straight start for the Rockets as they host the Knicks on Monday, further solidifying his role as a regular in Houston's starting lineup.
House is not without competition. The Rockets are now stocked with depth in the frontcourt after a pair of trades and two buyout acquisitions, leaving head coach Mike D'Antoni with no shortage of options in his rotation. Eric Gordon has been considered House's main competition for the starting spot, though House's role appears to be entrenched after the All-Star break.
It's not hard to see the value of House's spot in the starting lineup. On a basic level, House is simply larger and longer than Gordon. He can guard larger forwards, and without a true center, sacrificing further size by starting Gordon is a questionable decision. House has also been solid alongside Russell Westbrook and James Harden, with the trio outscoring opponents by a healthy 8.4 points per 100 possessions.
Bringing Gordon off the bench also satisfies another goal for D'Antoni. Houston's head coach opted to start House at the start of the season for a fairly simple reason: he wanted to have Gordon with one of Harden and Westbrook at all times. The Rockets thrived with an exaggerated stagger of Chris Paul and Harden in 2017-18, and Gordon was an effective link between the two. If House continues to produce, Gordon can play a similar role in the Rockets' stretch run.
House has been solid as a starter of late. He is shooting 44.4% from three in a nine-game starting streak ahead of Monday night, a stretch in which the Rockets are 7–2. Still, D'Antoni's regular-season rotation may not mirror his decision making in the postseason. He may opt for added scoring punch out of the gate, tapping Gordon for the starting lineup if P.J. Tucker and Robert Covington hold their own down low.
This is House's first full season as an NBA rotation player. Perhaps D'Antoni will lean for the experienced option in April in May. But for now, House will get his chance to cement his role in the Rockets' starting lineup.