The Rockets were able to agree to a contract to bring Danuel House back for the next 3 years, which was actually a really big deal. Here’s why I’m expecting a big year from House!
The Rockets will be much deeper next season than they’ve ever been in recent history. In my opinion, the roster is even better than the year they won 65 games and had the best record in the NBA. Sure we know about the All-Star back-court of James Harden and Russell Westbrook and we also know about Clint Capela who is coming off a career best season. But there’s also an unheralded player who should also be mentioned much more frequently: Danuel House.
Danuel House hasn’t had an easy path to this point at all. He went undrafted despite being named an Honorable Mention All-American in college. Not only that, House wasn’t able to make the Washington Wizards roster, during the 2017 season in which Washington finished fourth in the East. Washington could have certainly used House during the playoffs that year, as All-Star John Wall‘s biggest complaint was ironically how the Wizards needed more bench productivity in the playoff series against the Boston Celtics.
House later went to play for the Phoenix Suns after several stints in the G-League but was unable to find a permanent home there either despite averaging 13.6 points per 36 minutes for Phoenix. House would later find himself back in the G-League again for the Rio Grande Vipers before being picked up by the Golden State Warriors prior to this past season. The Warriors would release House before he ever played a game, forcing House to return to the Vipers. House eventually made his way to the Rockets, however in large part due to injuries.
But House excelled for the Rockets and finally got the opportunity he had been waiting for as he led the Rockets in three-point shooting, making 41.6% of his attempts from deep. House averaged 11 points per game for the month of January and 10.3 points per game for the month of February. That’s impressive because he was really forced into the rotation mid-season due to injuries but was able to make an immediate impact for the Rockets. Also, House had an unusual contract stand-off with the Rockets in between those months but still returned unphased. In fact, House played 11 games with the Rio Grande Vipers during the contract negotiations with the Rockets and averaged 21 points per game during that span.
House could be in the starting rotation this season and will have a clearly defined role here. He also knows exactly what Mike D’Antoni wants and needs out of him. In addition, House will benefit from Russell Westbrook, who will be able to get him even more open looks behind the three-point line. But also, House has the ability to set himself up for his own shot, which would help a Rockets team seeking to rest Harden and Westbrook more, as this would allow House to even play with them off the floor.
This past season, Pascal Siakam won the Most Improved Player Award after averaging 16.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per night which was an increase from the previous season in which he averaged 7.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per night. It’s realistic to expect House to average 14-18 points per game, and if he can shoot 40% from three again this season, I would think he would be a lock for Most Improved Player this season.
Last season, House averaged 9.4 points and 3.6 rebounds while playing a reserve role, so I could very well see him grabbing 5.6 rebounds per night and even tripling his assist numbers, especially if he’s in the starting rotation. House averaged 1 assist per night last season, so it would be easy to see him get that number up to 3. If House increases his scoring, rebounding, and assist numbers, he WILL nab the Most Improved Player Award.
What should be scary for the rest of the league is the fact that the Rockets have House under contract for 3 more years, which means he’ll be under contract for the entirety of Westbrook’s contract, as Westbrook has a player option in 2022.
House will surely be happy to have his own contract dispute behind him, but he’s also likely eyeing his next contract. This is because House’s new deal will pay him a total of 11 million over three years, but House could very well make that annually if he is able to shine for these next 3 years. I’m hoping House will be added to the starting rotation, because the more minutes he plays, the better the outcome will be for the Rockets.
One point that gets overlooked often is the fact that House may very well be the reason the Rockets chose not to spend the full mid-level exception this season. They could very well feel like what he brings to the table is equal or greater than anyone they would have signing for the mid-level, and it’s hard to dispute that.
I’m expecting big things from House and wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the Most Improved Player Award. Can we just fast forward the next 2 months and get the season started up already?!