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Rockets 2021 player previews: Danuel House

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Danuel is back in the House.

NBA: Playoffs-Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Danuel House Jr.

Danuel House projects to be the Houston Rockets starting Small Forward, inasmuch as the Rockets have a small forward, and also assuming Eric Gordon isn’t pretending at Small Forwarding at the start of contests. Danuel House looks to be a significant contributor at both ends of the floor in any case. House’s 2019-2020 season represented a small step back for the forward, but was nonetheless...

You know what? Let’s stop here and talk about the elephant in the hotel room. She’s standing right there, in the corner. It seems unavoidable, and we should get it out of the way.

There are a lot of things to say about House’s game, but it was one particular sort of game he got onto that defined his season. The story, in outline, is that Danuel House had an unauthorized guest visit him, late night, in his Disney NBA Bubble suite in the playoffs. This visit constituted a violation of bubble COVID-19 protocol rules, and House was sent home to Houston.

There is some speculation as to how this violation was known, was a it routine check of door opening/closing records (and isn’t lovely to think that your hotel always knows this) where someone noted an irregularity? Did someone drop the proverbial dime on House?

In some ways, it doesn’t matter. It seemed to be an open and shut case, so to speak. The evidence was compelling. House’s defense that he didn’t believe he was actually violating bubble protocol didn’t really seem to apply, and there was no public protest by the Rockets.

In some ways, it’s interesting to note that House is the only player who received such punishment, for actions within the controlled NBA environment. Were others doing the same, but more cleverly? Were other violations happening, but not reported? Why this player and not another?

I think in another year or two we can expect a lot of “You have no idea how crazy it was in The Bubble!” stories to emerge. But they can’t emerge in the midst of the USA experiencing a worse COVID fatality rate now, compared to back when The Bubble was in progress.

In any case, House’s absence seemed to deflate the team in the playoffs, and that absence was definitely felt in a match up where the Rockets needed height and athleticism. Is it an excuse for losing to the eventual champions? Of course not. Is it a contributing factor? That seems obvious.

At Rockets media availability day, Danuel House was of course asked about these matters. His answers amounted to “I regret what happened, and I have already apologized to my teammates. I’m focused on the upcoming season and improving.”

Hopefully this has settled the matter, that the players treated it like House sprained his ankle - unfortunate, but nothing more. They probably didn’t, particularly on a team where the core stars were all 30+ in age. Opportunities aren’t infinite for an NBA player. But the Rockets need Danuel House, one of their most productive players per dollar spent on his contract. (Not the most productive, that’s probably Ben McLemore.)

Danuel House has a season of redemption ahead of him. He’s fortunate in that there is a new coach in the building, who won’t feel let down by his actions back in Bubble Times.

It’s good that House appears to be back in the fold, because the Rockets need him.

Poll

Redemption?

This poll is closed

  • 64%
    For all.
    (72 votes)
  • 15%
    Red dead to me.
    (17 votes)
  • 19%
    Head north, young man, for a fresh start in Dallas.
    (22 votes)
111 votes total Vote Now