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Danuel House wants to take one of the Jazz’s open roster spots, and he started making his case on Friday

In his first game with the Jazz, with no time to practice, he already impressed his coach and teammates

Utah Jazz forward Daniel House Jr. (25) and Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. (33) chase the ball.
Utah Jazz forward Daniel House Jr. (25) and Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. (33) chase the ball during second-half NBA basketball game action in Toronto, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022.
Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press via AP

TORONTO — On Friday morning, Danuel House finished a shootaround with the Utah Jazz. It was his lone chance to digest as much as he could from head coach Quin Snyder before he would play later the same night against the Toronto Raptors.

“Particularly with Danuel and (fellow 10-day contract signee) Norvel (Pelle), I don’t want them to expect too much of themselves as far as thinking through a play or something like that,” Snyder said ahead of the Jazz’s Friday night game.

“Space is important, and if you do that, you’re going to be in the right spot most of the time. … There’s a small package of things that we’ve put together that we can run when those guys are in the game.”

No one was expecting for House to come into the game and memorize the Jazz’s playbook or play a perfected version of the Jazz’s defensive scheme. That being said, House did a very good job considering the fact that he has never practiced with the team and had been around the group for less than 48 hours.

House finished the night with 13 points, shot 50% from 3-point range and flexed his defensive chops.

“He showed some of the reasons that we want him here, and I think he found out some things about us,” Snyder said.

“Being ready to shoot, space, taking a 3, competing, and I thought he did an excellent job trying to hit people and find bodies on our defensive glass.”

It would also have been really understandable for House, a player who is trying to make his way back onto an NBA roster, to kind of just get his own and let the ball fly, but he was really smart with his shot selection and he passed up open looks to give the ball to his new teammates who were just slightly more open than he was.

Additionally, despite nursing a dislocated finger that was bothering him throughout the game, House was diving on the floor for loose balls and chasing potential steals into the stands, defending with force.

It’s actually his unselfishness and the way he competed on Friday that is going to give him the best chance to find a standard NBA contract rather than just a 10-day hardship deal, and he knows it.

House knows that the Jazz have an open roster spot, and that they could use a shooter who can play defense against craftier wing players. He knows the kind of basketball the Jazz play. So when House’s agent called him and told him that the Jazz wanted to put him on a 10-day contract, he already had a plan.

“Initially what was going through my head is come here and get that spot and help this team,” House said. “I’m grateful to be here. It’s an awesome opportunity. … Another door opens when one closes. I feel like this is just another opportunity to give players a chance to showcase skills and present and put themselves in a better position.”

House wants his better position to be on a title-contending Jazz team and to be the defender they’ve been looking for.

Now, that’s all very lofty, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. The Jazz do need a player of House’s ilk, so what happens over the course of his 10-day contract could really impact what happens down the road.