2. Danuel House Jr.
With the cemented starting five of Embiid-Harris-Tucker-Maxey-Harden, let’s assume the Sixers only rely on three perimeter rotation pieces in the playoffs (with maybe an occasional cameo from a fourth or fifth player). De’Anthony Melton and Jalen McDaniels feel like the safest bets to receive consistent, important minutes.
That third player at the onset of the playoffs will probably be Niang. But as the matchups progress, it will get harder to mask Niang’s defensive shortcomings. If that’s the case, the conversation essentially moves to Shake Milton versus Danuel House Jr.
After an extended period of benchwarming, House has been back in the rotation lately and he’s playing well. The Sixers dished out the two-year biannual exception to sign House with the hopes of him being a playoff-level, 3-and-D contributor. It would be good for everyone if House is able to perform up to those expectations.
Unfortunately, House’s 3-point shooting has been all over the map this season. He’s not reliable game-to-game on the offensive end, often making things harder than they need to be with pointless dribbling forays. He’s a bankable wing defender, but Shake Milton offers similar versatility at 6-foot-7 (he’s actually longer than House).
Milton was integral to the Sixers’ second unit last season. He adds another layer of shot-making and passing that could be useful when the halfcourt offense inevitably stiffens up. The game slows down in the playoffs and Milton is an excellent player in those environments. So, House probably fazes back out of the rotation.