Danuel House is coming into the year with big expectations. Here are three goals for the Houston Rockets forward in the 2019-20 season.
It’s amazing what an opportunity and an ideal fit can do for a player. After short stints in Washington, Phoenix and in the G-League, Danuel House finally found a home with the Houston Rockets.
Last season, House averaged 9.4 points and grabbed 3.6 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game. House’s most impressive stat was his 41.6 3-point percentage, which led the team. House is also a solid defender and he has the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim.
However, House’s smooth stroke from downtown is what really kept him around in Houston, whose offensive system is built around the ability to make 3-point shots. Speaking of keeping him around, the Rockets signed House to a three-year, $11.1 million contract this summer.
Now that House is under contract over the next few years, he’ll be expected to be a lot more consistent next season, especially in the playoffs. He will likely play at least 25 minutes per game and he could become Houston’s most important reserve player, or even a starter, if he can take his game to the next level.
With that being said, here are three goals for Danuel House in the 2019-20 season.
Next: No. 3
3. Shoot at least 40 percent from the 3-point line
Danuel House made a team-high 41.6 percent of his 3-point attempts last season, a number good enough to put him in the same company with some of the best shooters in the game.
The Rockets attempted a staggering 45.4 3s per game last season, 7.2 attempts more than the league’s next most 3-point happy team. House attempted 4.6 3s per game himself, converting on 1.9 of those attempts on average.
Given Mike D’Antoni‘s nature, he would probably like House take even more 3s next year, which would be a good thing if he can increase his volume of attempted 3s while maintaining his efficiency.
House’s ability to shoot from distance is even more valuable with Russell Westbrook on the team. Russ, who is an excellent scorer, is not a good 3-point shooter and is always looking to drive the ball. Whenever Westbrook is running the offense, opposing defenses are going to prioritize shutting off driving lanes, especially when James Harden isn’t on the floor. Playing guys like House and Eric Gordon with Westbrook will give the eight time All-Star the spacing he needs to get to his spots on the floor and keep Houston’s offense running smoothly.
Next: No. 2
2. Continue to improve on defense
One of the biggest things that hurt Houston last year was their poor defense. After finishing tied for sixth in defensive rating in the 2017-18 season, the Rockets slipped down to 17th last season. Fortunately, Houston tightened up on defense as the season went on. After the All-Star break, the Rockets held their opponents to just 105.3 points per 100 possessions, which ranked second in the league over that timespan. The Rockets also won 20 of those 25 games, which is definitely not a coincidence.
As Houston’s roster is currently constructed, they don’t have very many defensive wings. Outside of P.J. Tucker, they have Gary Clark, but Clark fell out of the team’s rotation last season and unless he takes a major step forward, he probably won’t play a lot next year, especially in the postseason.
The Rockets went from having three defensive-minded forwards in P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute in the 2017-18 season to just Tucker last season, and that was one of the biggest reasons the team’s defense suffered.
At 6-feet-7 inches tall and weighing in at 220 pounds, House has the length and the size to defend any elite perimeter player. He just has to commit to expending the energy that it takes to be a lockdown defender.
Next: No. 1
1. Start at small forward
Last season, it looked like the Houston Rockets might have found their replacement for Trevor Ariza in Danuel House. Like Ariza, House is a great floor space and possesses the versatility to switch on defense. However, House struggled in the postseason and he barely saw the floor in Houston’s series against the Golden State Warriors.
House’s disappearing act in the playoffs was disappointing and he definitely fell out of favor with some fans who had high expectations for him. However, that was the first time House has played any real meaningful basketball in the NBA and as most young players do, he’ll learn from experience.
Going into the season, Mike D’Antoni has already said that Eric Gordon will start at small forward. This is definitely the right move, as Gordon’s ability to score as a third option and his ability to space the floor alongside Westbrook is so valuable to this team. However, House’s size can give the team a boost defensively and he can also help the team out on the boards, and D’Antoni recently admitted that rebounding is Houston’s biggest weakness.
Because of House’s skillset, he would definitely thrive in the starting lineup with all of the opposing defense’s attention focused on Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Clint Capela. Not to mention, moving Eric Gordon back to his Sixth Man roll would give Houston’s second unit, which ranked dead last in points per game last season, a lot more scoring punch.