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Why Gerald Green won’t be a significant loss for the Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets Gerald Green (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Gerald Green (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets reserve Gerald Green will reportedly be out of action for two or three months due to a foot injury, however, the loss may not be as significant as you’d think.

The Houston Rockets were dealt some unfortunate news Sunday when it was announced Gerald Green will miss several months due to a foot injury. There was initial optimism that Green’s injury was just a sprain, but Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle confirmed the injury is believed to be a broken foot. It’s a tough break for Green, as he seemed ready for a big year after explaining how he felt “slept on” throughout his entire career.

But from the Rockets standpoint, they should be okay on the court. As we previously noted, the Rockets have many options to turn to; Chris Clemons and Ben McLemore to name a couple. Aside from that, we have to keep in mind how Mike D’Antoni likes to operate in regard to his lineups.

Last season, D’Antoni turned to the small-ball lineup for the Rockets, which included starting Eric Gordon at the small forward spot. He’s already said he will employ the same strategy this season as well.

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Green played an average of 20.2 minutes per game last season and was already going to likely have his minutes reduced for the second straight season due to the signing of Thabo Sefolosha and re-signing of Danuel House.

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Green shot 35% from deep last season, which any team can certainly use, but his 3-point shooting can be sporadic, as sometimes he’ll come out shooting 5-of-5 and other times he’ll be ice cold. When he’s having an off-night from deep, he tends to sometimes let that affect the rest of his game as well.

Sefolosha shot 43.6 percent from distance last season and is a significant upgrade over Green on the defensive end of the floor.

In addition, Danuel House shot 41.6 percent last season from behind the arc and has a much more complete offensive game than Green at this point in his career.

Granted, it’s not as simple as giving all of Green’s minutes to those two combined, as Sefolosha only played 12.2 minutes last season and will likely play within that range again. The bulk of Green’s minutes will likely be staggered between House, Sefolosha, and newcomer Ben McLemore, who has shown promise in the preseason. In addition, Austin Rivers could also be used to spell minutes in Green’s absence, as he now has a year under his belt in coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense.

There was speculation that D’Antoni was going to use House at the power forward position, which would stick with the theme of the small-ball lineup, but if this were really going to be the case, there would have been no reason to sign Ryan Anderson.

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Since the Rockets have built a roster full of 3-point shooters on the bench, I wouldn’t expect them to miss a beat in Green’s absence. Given the veteran has been playing professional basketball since 2005, the team should allow him as much time as he needs to heal, and luckily can afford to do so.

UPDATE: Shams Charania reported Tuesday afternoon that Green’s injury might be even worse than expected once again, and he could miss the rest of the season. We’ll have more coverage about what this could mean for Houston as the season approaches.

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