The Sixers successfully got by the first part of their absolute gauntlet of a March schedule, going 4-1 over a five game road trip that lasted just seven days. Over that stretch, the team picked up a win without Joel Embiid in the lineup over the Miami Heat, and a win without James Harden in the lineup against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They also knocked off the hottest team in the NBA, snapping the Milwaukee Bucks’ 16-game winning streak.
Philly’s bench played a big part in the team’s success last week. The second unit started two fourth quarter comebacks after the team looked dead to rights in the third. The first comeback attempt fell short to a Dallas Mavericks team that couldn’t miss, but the second comeback was a big reason for one of the most impressive wins of the season in Milwaukee.
With about a month left in the regular season, Doc Rivers’ rotation is just about set in place. With Paul Reed making notable improvements and Tyrese Maxey back in the starting lineup, the only question mark currently is at the wing position. So it’s time to take a look at Philly’s options and ask, how much trust do you have in the Sixers rotation?
Danuel House Jr.
For months, it looked as if House was solidly out of the rotation, only seeing the floor in garbage time minutes. As Georges Niang continued to struggle, the option of putting House back on the floor became more and more viable. House got his first real minutes in months last week in Miami, where he put up six points, a steal, and was a +7 in 17 minutes of play.
It’s still unclear how much Rivers trusts House against better competition, as he only played 13 seconds in the loss to Dallas and once again got another DNP-CD against the Bucks.
He made the most of his minutes Monday night against the Pacers, shooting 4 of 5 from the field with 10 points. His only miss was, well, this.
House will always be a chaotic player, but on paper, it seems a lot more likely that he is able to stay on the floor defensively in the playoffs than Niang. A second unit with House, Reed, and Jalen McDaniels all on the floor is super switchable, which is exactly how James Harden likes to defend when Embiid is resting.
It felt like a notable week in the rotation, as last Wednesday’s game in Miami was the first time Rivers was willing to bench Niang for an entire game. The Bucks have not been able to expose him on the defensive end as other teams have, so he played a big 28 minutes in that game.
This week was the perfect example of when Niang is hot he’s almost essential to this offense and when he is cold he is unplayable. Perhaps he is getting back into a rhythm, as he shot 5 of 6 from downtown Saturday night against the Bucks, and then went 2 of 5 Tuesday night against the Timberwolves.
It does seem apparent that House and Niang will be competing for this wing spot, and Rivers will play around with this for the rest of the regular season based on matchups.
Who do you trust more coming off the bench in a playoff series?
This poll is closed
Danuel House Jr.