UTAH JAZZ

The Jazz Should Hold Onto Danuel House Jr.

Jan 25, 2022, 2:02 PM
Utah Jazz guard Danuel House Jr. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)...
Utah Jazz guard Danuel House Jr. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s rare for players on 10-day contracts to make a real impact on a basketball team, but it’s difficult to find fault in the play of Danuel House Jr. with the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz first signed House Jr. on January 6 to a 10-day hardship contract after Joe Ingles entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, giving themselves some emergency depth the wing was needed.

Then, after a rash of injuries and COVID-19 exposures, the team found themselves relying on the mercenary forward more quickly than expected.

Jake Scott and Ben Anderson discussed Danuel House Jr. during the Jake And Ben Show on Tuesday. You can listen to their conversation in the player below.

Just one day after House Jr. signed with the Jazz, he found himself playing 25 minutes in a shorthanded loss to the Toronto Raptors. In his Jazz debut, the veteran wing scored 13 points on 4-7 shooting, grabbed four rebounds, and handed out four assists.

With more bodies available over the next week, House Jr.’s opportunity with the Jazz waned, playing an average of 13 minutes over three games while averaging 2.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 0.7 assists.

But once again with a badly battered roster traveling to Phoenix to face the Suns on Monday, the Jazz turned to House Jr. to fill out the rotation, and the wing once again proved his value.

House Jr. scored 14 points, his second-highest total of the season, while grabbing seven rebounds, and dishing out four assist in a game-high 42 minutes.

But beyond his numbers, it was the way House Jr. played that stood out.

“I was pleased with our competitiveness […] that’s something that our team needs to continue to replicate night in and night out,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after the game.” That’s something that was that’s within our control, playing with that level of intensity and Danuel does that.”

Whereas some players on 10-day contracts look at every moment on the floor as an opportunity to flash their ability to score the ball, House Jr. has shown a willingness to run the floor, play defense, rebound, and move the ball.

In 108 minutes with the Jazz, House Jr. has attempted just 25 shots, even when playing among far more unproven offensive weapons.

While that has robbed him of an opportunity to show off his ability to score, it’s perhaps given the Jazz a better preview of the value he could bring to a roster that features offensive heavy-hitters like Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson.

Within the team’s offense, they can always use floor spacers who are a threat to knock down an open three. For his career, House Jr. is a 36 percent three-point shooter, a number that would rank sixth among current Jazz rotation players.

But it’s his hustle, defensive intuition, and willingness to compete off the ball that could make him a valuable piece on the backend of the Jazz depth chart.

Another spot where House Jr. may be an ideal fit with the Jazz, he seems to like playing in Utah.

After the Jazz’s loss to the Suns, House Jr. discussed his comfort within the organization.

“Coming over here and being welcomed with loving arms, it makes you really enjoy the process and everything,” House Jr. said. “The staff, the organization, they just do an unbelievable job from top to bottom to make sure that every player on this roster has whatever they need whenever they need it and so much more.”

Traditionally, NBA teams are able to sign an individual player to two 10-day contracts per season before having to choose whether to sign them for the remainder of the season or to let them hit free agency.

However, with the ongoing pandemic sidelining large swaths of players for teams across the league, front offices can sign players to more than two 10-day deals as long as at least one of those contracts was a hardship contract.

In the case of House Jr., the first deal he signed with the Jazz was a 10-day hardship, with his latest contract signed on January 18 marking his first traditional 10-day contract.

The Jazz can choose to sign House Jr. to a second traditional 10-day contract when this current deal expires later this week, before having to make a decision on him for the rest of the season late in the first week of February.

As for House Jr., he said he’s not concerned about the ticking clock on his contract.

“I just control what I can’t control, I’m just trying to make sure I show up to work every day and get better every day,” House Jr. said, “so when my number is called, I’m able to perform. I’m not counting the days.”

The Jazz currently have 13 players on guaranteed contracts, leaving two open roster spots for them to sign an additional guaranteed contract before the end of the season.

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