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Article written by Michael Knight (@TheKnight97)


It was a rough start to the bubble for Danuel House. Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni clearly stated his intentions for the starting small forward position in the seeding games at Disney, and House was not a part of it. He had started 47 of the 58 games in the season so far but had struggled to the tune of 28% shooting from deep in the 10 games before the shutdown.

Eric Gordon was slated to take the place of House in the starting lineup once the games finally returned from the five+ month hiatus. In the last scrimmage, though, Eric Gordon sprained his ankle and is slated to miss the first few weeks of the restart. That immediately called Danuel House back into action and into the starting five again, this time with even more motivation to prove that he deserves the spot.

Last season

Danuel House stormed onto the scene with the Houston Rockets last season and has been a staple in the rotation ever since. He had two opportunities early in his career with the Wizards and Suns, but neither really worked out for him. He found a great fit in his hometown of Houston with the Rockets, where he shot over 41% from deep in 39 games for the team.

Unfortunately, his shot could not fall and his defense suffered as well in the 2019 postseason. He lost minutes and an injured foot certainly did not help his case. His athleticism and shooting really could have been difference-making for the Rockets, especially in the series against the Warriors. Instead, Houston went home in six games and made some big changes in the offseason.

Now

Danuel House enters the bubble with that same difference-making ability that would have been so nice a year ago. He is a lengthy forward who can drill shots and can make plays on both ends of the court, exactly what a small-ball team like the Rockets needs.

Last year, when the games got serious and the intensity rose (much like we’ve seen in the bubble so far), House wasn’t quite there for the Rockets. Can he flip the script and make some serious contributions for a team pursuing a championship?

So far, so good

Man, has Danuel House been good so far. The Rockets are now two games into the seeding round and have victories over the Mavericks and the top team in the league, the Bucks. Neither of these wins happen without the contributions of the young small forward.

Against the Mavericks, House had 20 points and five rebounds to go along with two steals. He hit half of his shots from deep, going 6/12. In the overtime period, he hit a big three to help bring the Rockets back and eventually take the win.

House was very impressive once again against the Bucks on Sunday night in a huge win for Houston. He had 16 points and four rebounds and was great in the fourth quarter. He had a nice step-back three that gave the Rockets a lead in the final frame, but his most impressive play of the night, in my opinion, was his steal with 14 seconds left and subsequent free throws that gave Houston a three-point edge late.

Overall on the night, he shot 50% from the field (5/10) and from deep (4/8). It almost looks like he took personal offense to not being a part of the new starting five.

These games have had an intensity surrounding them that most regular-season games just do not have. The bubble is making for some great basketball and most every game feels like the postseason. House has not faltered in this environment and has instead thrived in it so far. If he continues this level of play, I don’t see D’Antoni giving Gordon the starting job back when he returns in a few weeks. A Danuel House that is focused and playing well on both ends of the court is a Danuel House that will help the Rockets win quite a few ball games in the most magical place on Earth. Stay tuned.


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