Houston Rockets starting Small Forward
Who will start: Eric Gordon
The Rockets don’t have a clear-cut candidate for starting small-forward, which is why Eric Gordon, a shooting guard, will likely get the nod to start the season. Gordon might not be a small forward, but the threat of his 3-point shot will provide the spacing the Rockets crucially need.
Gordon hasn’t been accurate from deep over the past two seasons (32.2%), but that doesn’t mean his three-ball doesn’t provide value. According to a FiveThirtyEight article, when Gordon was on the court the mere threat of his 3-pointer allowed his teammates to get to the rim far more frequently.
The spacing that Gordon provides through the threat of his 3-pointer should open the offense for Kevin Porter Jr and Jalen Green to attack the rim. On defense, Gordon will have to hang tough and hope he provides more on offense than he gives up on the other end.
Who should start: David Nwaba
Eric Gordon might provide the spacing the Rockets need, but David Nwaba is possibly the Rockets’ best perimeter defender. His defensive on-off numbers were fantastic last season and his season-ending wrist injury was an overlooked factor in the Rockets’ plunge to the bottom of the standings.
Nwaba will help lessen the defensive responsibilities for Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr and is as ferocious a dunker as they come. Could the Rockets’ offense get bogged down with him out there? Absolutely, but he gives the team the best chance to win.
Jae'Sean Tate and Danuel House could get some run at the small forward position this season. This is the one spot where Stephen Silas doesn't have any good options for the present or for the future.