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How important will Danuel House Jr. be this year for the Sixers?

The veteran wing is entering his second season with Philadelphia after an up-and-down 2022-23.

Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

We already looked at the two-way guys and players the team has signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, Filip Petrusev, Furkan Korkmaz, Jaden Springer, Danny Green, Mohamed Bamba and Patrick Beverley looking forward to how they could impact the team in the 2023-24 season.

Danuel House Jr.

Age: 30

Contract status: One-year, $4.3 million deal

Last offseason, the Philadelphia 76ers brought in a pair of James Harden’s former Houston Rockets teammates. The headliner was naturally P.J. Tucker, given his 2021-22 campaign, Joel Embiid’s complimentary soundbites and Tucker’s history with Harden and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey. But joining all those folks in Philadelphia was also Danuel House Jr., who’d put together an encouraging final third of 2021-22 with the Utah Jazz and looked primed to offer wide-ranging point-of-attack defense and requisite off-ball offensive contributions.

Instead, House began the year rather slowly and eventually fell out of the rotation before righting the ship in spot chances and emerging as an unsung hero of the Sixers’ surprising Game 5 win against the Boston Celtics.

Entering his second season with Philadelphia, a clear path to valuable minutes off the bench has emerged for House. If he can provide the point-of-attack chops evident at the end of the season and during his stint with Utah, he immediately embeds a rangy wing stopper the team lacks elsewhere (Tucker presents some of this, but he’s best donning various hats). If he can blend viable spot-up shooting with connective passing and some downhill juice off the catch, he’s an ideal complement offensively. The flipside, however, is his point-of-attack defense remains sporadic, much like it was early in 2022-23, and he opts out of too many catch-and-shoot threes for sidestep triples and chaotic forays inside.

A month ago, with Georges Niang and Jalen McDaniels gone, it seemed head coach Nick Nurse & Co. may have to simply endure the ebbs and flows of House’s approach. Now, though, following the signings of Danny Green and Kelly Oubre Jr., the runway for House appears more crowded. Among these reserve wings, he can absolutely emerge as the most meaningful and logical fit alongside the centerpieces, Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. It might just require increased discretion and a thinner margin for error.

The contract year line of thinking could prove relevant as well. House will be a free agent next summer. Perhaps, he rediscovers his 2021-22 form to land another rosy deal, regardless of whether it occurs in Philadelphia. Another year bouncing in and out of the rotation could muddy his outlook for free agency. That’s not to say it’s necessarily what motivates him, just that it’s not uncommon for players to really find themselves with another possible payday looming.

House’s inconsistencies left him outside the rotation across much of 2022-23. But Philadelphia’s depth is much worse this year. This is a highly flawed team, particularly on the wing. House can plug some of those holes. Much like Paul Reed, he offers a jolt of athleticism and quickness not abundant throughout the roster. Nurse’s last few Toronto squads were loaded with size, speed and mobility on the perimeter. House’s tools could entice him. A sizable role could be in the cards for the veteran wing. If that materializes, it’s probably a positive for the Sixers and makes them better. If not, many of the questions facing them will likely persist as they navigate 2023-24.

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