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Rockets 2021-2022 player previews: Khyri Thomas

Thomas flashed last season and earned a multi-year deal, but the guard room in H-town is crowded.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Khyri Thomas made a big impression in a short amount of time this past season with the Houston Rockets. He only played in five total games, starting two, but he finished with impressive averages of 16.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.

All five of his games came towards the end of the year when the Rockets were decimated by injuries and lineup changes (Thomas was brought aboard using a hardship exeception), so he had the benefit of of being somewhat a volume shooter over those five games, averaging 13.2 shots per night. Despite those high numbers of attempts, he still shot 48.5 percent from the field, including a 6-7 shooting performance against the Milwaukee Bucks and an 8-11 night versus the Los Angeles Clippers. He also had a 27-point game against the Utah Jazz.

The Rockets saw enough in Thomas that they signed him to a multi-year deal at the end of last season that will pay him $1.7 million this year, $1.9 million next year, and they hold a $2.1 million team option for 2023-2024.

The 6’3” 25-year-old shooting guard is also regarded as a good defender to complement his offensive skills, but it remains to be seen where he fits in Houston’s guard lineup. With Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green starting, that leaves Eric Gordon coming off the bench at the two, while the Rockets will also be looking for minutes for David Nwaba, Josh Christopher, Armoni Brooks and D.J. Augustin at the guard spots. Jae’Sean Tate can play guard as well, in addition to Dante Exum.

It’s a bit of a log jam, and we’re going to need to see these guys in the preseason before getting a full read on how this will all play out. I like Thomas, and obviously the Rockets do too, but with that multi-year deal not full guaranteed, does he make the varsity roster out of a crowded field? He’s on that fringe.