Even the most devout of Celtics fans has a hard time realizing it, but the best three-point shooter on the Boston roster at the moment is a man not getting anywhere near the amount of credit he deserves.
He's a man who quietly, modestly and efficiently shot 44.4 percent from beyond the arc last season, managing 8.5 points a game despite seeing limited minutes. He's a man who isn't paid the big bucks — he signed a $2.9 million contract extension this summer to stay in Boston for another year. He's a man that the Celtics are happy to have coming off their bench.
He's Eddie House. And with two games to go in their preseason schedule, he's the leading scorer on the Celtics' bench. Not Rasheed Wallace, not Glen Davis — it's House, the 6-foot-1 journeyman with the heart of gold.
House bounced around to eight NBA teams in his first eight seasons. He started out with a respectable three-year stint in Miami, but after that, he skipped town and passed through L.A. (the Clippers), Charlotte, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Phoenix and New Jersey.
It wasn't until he reached Boston that he truly made himself at home. And now that he's here, all that's left to do is figure out his role.
House has averaged 10.8 points per game so far in six preseason games. He's made 13 of his 30 attempts from beyond the arc, good for a stunning 43.3 percent. His three-point shooting numbers have dwarfed even Ray Allen's this October. But it's still not clear yet exactly how the Celtics plan to use House this season — will he become a backup point guard, a shooter, or a little of both?
What fits him best? That might not be the key question. For the Celtics, it might come down to what role the team's needs dictate — they have plenty of guards on their roster, and House is seen as the guy with the versatility to play wherever needed.
It depends on Lester Hudson, the No. 58 draft pick signed as a backup point guard but proving his ability to score in bunches. Will Hudson become a regular part of the C's rotation? And if so, will it be as a backup for Rajon Rondo at the point, or as an undersized swingman who can drive to the hole and score?
It depends on Marquis Daniels, the former Indiana Pacer signed to play on the wing as a backup for Paul Pierce. Is that the role that Daniels will stick with? Or will he move to the point, taking over for Rondo if Hudson sees his minutes reversed or his role adjusted?
House is waiting for the rest of the Celtics' roster to shake itself out. Then he'll slide in wherever necessary. But whether he's saying it publicly or not, he knows he's a born two-guard.
House isn't a complete player, in the ball-handling, passing, defending sense. More than anything, he's a shooter. He's a spot-up jump-shooting machine with impeccable form and remarkable consistency. He doesn't run offenses, but he fits into them nicely, taking advantage of every open look he can find.
He can play at the point in a pinch, if it's really necessary, but it isn't his natural habitat. House thrives when he's not the center of attention — his job is to wait quietly in the wings, and when no one's looking, get him the open shot.
For the past two years, Eddie House has been the most underrated member of the Celtics, stepping up with big shots and demanding little fame, fortune or publicity. He's a shooter at heart, and the Celtics would be wise to leave him in that role.
Role players like Eddie House can help you win championships, and he already has once.
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