Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling every player currently on the Sixers’ roster ahead of training camp, which begins on Sept. 27.
Danuel House Jr.
Contract status: Signed on a two-year, $8.4 million contract (including a $4.31 player option for 2023-24)
The Sixers desperately needed more two-way wings. Matisse Thybulle still hasn’t developed offensively and he can’t be relied upon in the playoffs. Furkan Korkmaz’s shooting fell off last year and he can’t hang well enough defensively in the postseason. Danny Green, as well as he complemented the team’s stars on offense with his shooting and off-ball movement, slowed down defensively last season and tore his ACL and LCL in the first few minutes of Game 6 against Miami as the Sixers went on to be eliminated.
Heading into this offseason, the Sixers’ biggest focus had to be bolstering their wing rotation. And after signing P.J. Tucker, making a great trade for De’Anthony Melton, and signing Danuel House Jr. using their bi-annual exception, it’s safe to say they’ve done just that.
House’s history with James Harden and Daryl Morey (and Tucker) from his 2018-21 Rockets tenure is well known. In House’s best seasons in Houston, he was a strong role player who fit their up-tempo, historically three-point heavy offenses with his spot-up shooting, while also providing solid defense. Now, thanks to Harden’s major pay cut this summer, House has been able to complete a Rockets reunion in Philly.
As House gets going with the Sixers, it’ll be interesting to see how he relocates around the arc and runs the floor in transition next to Harden, both to the perimeter for triples, or straight to the basket if he has a clear cutting lane — two things he did fairly well alongside Harden in Houston. For his career, House has shot a respectable 36.6 percent from three on 6.3 attempts per 36 minutes. He may not possess a flashy shot profile with the ability to sprint into jumpers or fly off screens, but he can find space, shoots with a fairly quick trigger and decent volume, and can do enough attacking closeouts to finish straight line drives to the basket or make simple extra passes to keep possessions ticking along.
After cooling down somewhat and briefly bouncing around to the Knicks last season, House ended the year by reminding everyone what he’s capable of in Utah. In 25 regular season games for the Jazz, he made 41.5 percent of his threes (albeit on a small sample of 82 total attempts, or six per 36 minutes) and fit in neatly with one of the NBA’s top three-point shooting teams, especially by upping his corner attempts.
The 6-foot-6 House was at his best on defense, too. He displayed his high motor, sound mobility to shift his feet against drivers, length to contest on jump shots and rim attempts, and was frequently deployed against top assignments — from point guards to bigger ball-handlers like Devin Booker and Luka Doncic. House has the shiftiness to cover some smaller guards, and the strength to body up against bigger forwards in the post. Unlike other of the Sixers’ backup wings from recent years, he can’t be physically picked on.
Just watch some of the film below to see how House competed against various positions. He was a genuinely good defender to close the season for Utah.
Here are a few Danuel House Jr. defensive highlights.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) July 19, 2022
He was a really solid defender for the Jazz last season. Pretty good lateral quickness, can switch across forwards and some guards, and has length to contest on the ball. He'll fit well with what Philly's wing rotation needs. pic.twitter.com/1KURMyVlr6
There were clear reasons House started playing over Royce O’Neale at times and closed some playoff games to end the year.
(I already looked at House’s game in detail shortly after the Sixers signed him, so if you want more in-depth film and stats breaking down his game, you can have a look at this article.)
Season outlook: House’s role with the Sixers will be simple. With Tobias Harris and Tucker in place as the team’s starting 3 and 4, House can be the first forward off the bench. In roughly 15-20 minutes a night (and the odd start if others are injured or just need some rest), House will be a welcome two-way addition.
Thanks to Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid anchoring the offense and pulling in the attention of defenders, House should fit in nicely as a complementary shooter and cutter. And for a Sixers team that needed wings who can hang in the playoffs, it’s defense where House may show his value most. Even though you can expect his minutes to drop come playoff time as the team’s top forwards (plus Melton) are relied on most to anchor the wing rotation, House will still be able to stay on the floor in the postseason — providing some extra depth and ensuring there’s constant competent defense when he’s needed for short stretches.
House will also help unlock some smaller, switchier lineups, so the Sixers won’t have to run with a slower-footed 4 like Georges Niang off the bench if they want to tighten up their defense.
Sure, you can’t expect too much from someone only making a few million per year, and Tucker and Melton are clearly the Sixers’ best acquisitions of the summer. But House is fully capable of rounding out the team’s perimeter play at both ends of the floor as well. And if he can pick up where he left off in Utah and build off that top form, even better.