Houston Rockets Preseason Roster Review: Shooting Guard

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Apr 30, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard

Troy Daniels

(30) reacts after making a basket during the second quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers in game five of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Troy Daniels – 6’4”, 204, 23 years old

Troy Daniels was mostly an unknown to Rockets fans last season, despite doing what he does best for 4 years and Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) for Shaka Smart. What Daniels does best obviously is knock down 3’s. Daniels shot 38.6% during his career at VCU and 40% as a senior.

Daniels clearly enjoyed and flourished the green light on 3 pointers policy and run-and-gun style that the Rockets D-League affiliate Rio Grand Valley Vipers play. Daniels, in his rookie year last season put up 599 3-pointers in 48 games, for a staggering 12.5 3-pointers per game. While doing so, Daniels once again shot 40% for the Vipers.

In late February the Rockets signed Daniels to a contract for the remainder of the season. This also made him a restricted free agent heading into the offseason, allowing the Rockets to match any offer. But since Daniels was still unproven as anything but a 3-point shooter, no team threw big money at him and the Rockets signed him to a 2 year, $1.76 million dollar guaranteed deal.

Apr 27, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Houston Rockets guard Troy Daniels (30) shoots against the Portland Trail Blazers during the fourth quarter in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Daniels only got into 5 games for the Rockets during the regular season and of course shot 48% from 3-point range. But it was in the playoffs where he really got Rockets fans attention, bumped up in the rotation and coming off the bench with some huge buckets in the series, going 8 for 15 for 53%.

It’s clear that Daniels has a role, knows what it is and can fill that role. We’d also expect his minutes to expand quite a bit to see just how much impact he can have coming off the bench behind Harden and perhaps even playing with Harden to provide spacing and deadly kick-out threat.

The main question remains for Daniels, can he be anything else? He’s a bit undersized at 6’4” by NBA shooting guard standards, and the question is can he defend well enough to warrant anything other than a few minutes here and there to shoot some 3’s. His defensive rating in both the D-League and in his 10 games with the Rockets has not been good. He will have to improve in this area.

But several similar players of various sizes, Steve Novak, Jason Kapono and James Jones just in the past 10 years in the NBA alone have been able to carve out decent careers by doing exactly what Daniels does best. And on a team with James Harden and Dwight Howard to draw the defenses attention, Daniels will get a chance this season to show just how much value he can add.

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