Who should start vs who will start for the Houston Rockets

N.B. Lindberg
Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors
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Christian Wood, Houston Rockets
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Houston Rockets starting Center 

Who will start: Daniel Theis

Based on the pre-season, it’s pretty clear that the Rockets see Daniel Theis as their starting center. After signing him to a four-year $36 million contract it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the veteran has the starting position locked down. 

Theis might be undersized for a center, he’s listed at 6’8, but he makes up for it with positional awareness and toughness. Stephen Silas clearly sees him as a nice compliment next to Christian Wood as the pair started all three of their pre-season games together. 

What makes Theis an interesting player is that he’s a center with a credible jump shot but he is not a knockdown 3-point shooter. His mid-range shooting is well above average for a center, but he’s only a 33.5-percent shooter from behind the arc. 

Theis is a solid rim runner and should provide good enough defense that he’ll help a young Rockets team hang tough. However, if the Rockets really want to win as many games as possible they should opt for another starting center.

Who should start: Christian Wood 

Christian Wood, on the offensive end, is about as modern a center as they come. He can rim run, he can shoot threes, and he can put the ball on the court and make defenders pay for overzealous closeouts. When it comes to offense, there aren’t many centers better than Wood. 

While Wood is a fantastic offensive center for five-out spacing, his rim protection and defense leave something to be desired. However, last season, when Wood was on the court, the Rockets' defense was two points better per 100 possessions.   

Wood’s offensive game provides the Rockets with an excellent pick and roll partner that can also help space the floor. His defense isn’t elite, but the total package boosts the Rockets’ overall chances of winning. If Stephen Silas wants to win as many games as possible, he should move Theis to the bench and let Wood be the Rockets’ lone center.