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Rockets 2021-2022 player previews: Danuel House

There’s not an exact fit for House on this roster. Where does he go from here?

2021-22 Houston Rockets Media Day Photo by Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images

I’m not going to get into old stuff with Danuel House. It’s been covered ad nauseum at many places, and the past is the past. House claims to now be a more mature version of himself, and I’m willing to take that at face value unless proven otherwise.

This is about his fit on this current Houston Rockets squad, and there are enough questions about that that we don’t need to get into anything else.

What is House’s role on this team? There’s a hole in the starting lineup at small forward, which is House’s natural position, but is he the best fit in the starting lineup?

At 28 years old, he’s one of the veterans on this young Rockets roster, but I’m not so sure plugging in the sixth-year man is the best fit alongside Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Christian Wood, and Daniel Theis.

House did start in 23 of 36 games played last season, but his statistical output slipped pretty much across the board from the previous year, and you have to wonder if one of the last remaining holdovers from the previous generation of Rockets has already reached his peak in H-town.

On top of that, his $3.8 million deal is expiring, making that affordable cap number extremely tradeable. And there’s somewhat of a logjam of nebulous options at his position.

Stephen Silas could start House at the three. He could also roll with Jae’Sean Tate (who gets my vote). Eric Gordon is also a possibility in what would amount to essentially a three-guard lineup. And though unlikely to start, Silas will also be looking for minutes for David Nwaba and K.J. Martin at the forward position. Where does that leave a guy like House, who in my opinion, is best served as a role player on a talented, contending roster, and not being relied upon to stabilize a group of young players?

But if Rafael Stone is going to move House before the deadline — and I think he should — Silas is going to need to get him on the court at least enough to showcase him to other teams, and I think that’s what we’ll see. It’ll be a mix of coming off the bench with the occasional start for House — barring injury, of course — with an eye on getting something for him on the market and opening up the rotation for the younger names as we move through the season.

There’s just not a long-term fit for House on this roster anymore, and contending teams will be looking to improve in the margins as the season pushes along towards the playoffs, so I expect someone to jump in the mix for his services in February (or before).