Stephen Silas says Rockets will likely be flexible with starting lineup

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In Wednesday’s feel-good victory over Chicago, which snapped a 15-game losing streak for the Houston Rockets, veteran big man Daniel Theis went from playing 22 minutes as a starter two nights earlier to being yanked from the lineup and not playing a single minute.

The apparent motivation for the Rockets and head coach Stephen Silas was to improve their floor spacing with additional shooters, and Houston responded with a 17-of-36 performance (47.2%) from 3-point range. Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate slid up to center and power forward, respectively, from their usual slots at power forward and small forward, while veteran sharpshooter Eric Gordon took Tate’s previous spot. That configuration made Houston smaller, but at least for one game, the trade-off was clearly worthwhile for Silas and the Rockets (2-16).

That does not, however, mean that Theis (who is on a four-year contract) is permanently out of Houston’s rotation, or even the starting lineup. In postgame comments, Silas said he wants his young team to be flexible and adapt its starting lineup to the opponent. His explanation:

It’s just one game. It’s hard to say, because there will be teams where they will have a bigger five, and we’ll have to kind of adjust.

As far as having a set starting lineup, I think it’s trending toward no, and it being more based on who we’re playing and what their strengths are. Less about us.

Saturday’s home game versus Charlotte is next up on Houston’s schedule, and the Hornets feature a fairly traditional starting center in Mason Plumlee. Perhaps that matchup will be deemed more suitable for Theis, who is well regarded for his defense and physical presence in the paint.

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