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Trying to piece together Houston’s rotation in 2021-22

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How hard can it be?

2021 NBA Draft Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images

Sometimes I like to embarrass myself by making predictions that are certain to be wrong. Today, I’m going to try to figure out how Stephen Silas and the Houston Rockets are going to utilize his players in the upcoming 2021-22 season.

First off, Rafael Stone and the front office drafted four 19-year-olds in the draft. The safe guess is that there won’t be room for all of them in the rotation, barring some wild trades.

As it stands, here are the players the Rockets currently have on the roster (in alphabetical order):

Guards

  • D.J. Augustin
  • Josh Christopher
  • Eric Gordon
  • Jalen Green
  • Kevin Porter, Jr.
  • John Wall

Wings

  • Danuel House, Jr.
  • K.J. Martin
  • Jae’Sean Tate

Bigs

  • Usman Garuba
  • Alperen Sengun
  • Christian Wood

That’s 12 players total. Avery Bradley and Khyri Thomas have player options. The Rockets have already made it clear they won’t pick up Bradley’s, but I haven’t heard much about Thomas. I believe Tate also has a team option, but that’s either getting picked up or the team will work out a long-term deal with the second-year stud.

So the Rockets still have a few roster spots available to be filled by free agents and/or undrafted rookies. And there’s trades to be made. But all we can look at is the current roster, not the potential return of Kelly Olynyk.

This exercise is made even more difficult by the fact that it’s difficult to look at last year to determine how big Silas likes his rotation. Between the injuries and the other injuries (did you know the Rockets got hurt a lot last season?), Silas was usually stuck playing who was available. 8 players? They all played. 12 players? They all played.

So after all those caveats, here’s what I think:

Starters

John Wall: 30 minutes

Kevin Porter Jr.: 32 minutes

Jae’Sean Tate: 30 minutes

K.J. Martin: 24 minutes

Christian Wood: 32 minutes

Bench

Jalen Green: 30 minutes

Eric Gordon: 30 minutes

Danuel House Jr.: 16 minutes

Alperen Sengun: 16 minutes

On back-to-back nights where Wall sits, I think those extra minutes will get distributed to the other guards and Augustin, who will be called on to be a veteran leader on this team. In case you’re wondering, that’s code for “not get much playing time but still collect a fat check twice a month.”

At least early in the season, I expect Christopher and Garuba to start in the G-League or ride the pine with the big club. If Olynyk returns or Stone gets another starting-caliber starter, that will take away minutes from House and Sengun and moves Martin to the bench.

So how much do you disagree with me? Let me know in the comments.