76ers

2019 NBA draft: Sixers take Iowa State wing Marial Shayok with 54th pick

2019 NBA draft: Sixers take Iowa State wing Marial Shayok with 54th pick

CAMDEN, N.J. — From the early stages of the pre-draft process, general manager Elton Brand and the Sixers were clear about their desire to target “mature” players.

They got one late in the second round shortly after midnight Friday morning in 23-year-old Marial Shayok with the 54th pick.

After spending three seasons at Virginia, Shayok transferred to Iowa State, where he averaged 18.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game as a redshirt senior.

Shayok measured in at 6-foot-5.5 inches at the combine, with a wingspan slightly over 7 feet.

The Ottawa, Ontario, native is a well-rounded wing who made 38.6 percent of his three-point shots at Iowa State. He played well in the portion of his pre-draft workout open to the media on May 20.

"We studied him for awhile," Sixers general manager Elton Brand said early Friday morning. "Started at Virginia for three years, was more of a defensive player. Then he transferred and became an offensive player, averaging over 18 points a game. Great three-point shooter. Had him in for a workout. Tough, gritty and he can play. Young talent and he can play."

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Sixers Talk podcast: Matisse Thybulle might already be the sixth man

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Sixers Talk podcast: Matisse Thybulle might already be the sixth man

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss the amount of games they expect Joel Embiid to play, Ben Simmons' self-awareness and Matisse Thybulle already surpassing expectations.

• Will Embiid set a career high in games played with his new load management plan? The guys make a friendly wager.

• Simmons gave arguably the most thoughtful quote he's ever given.

• Is Thybulle already the Sixers' sixth best player?

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Sixers pick up Zhaire Smith's third-year option, make clear call to bank on his further development

Sixers pick up Zhaire Smith's third-year option, make clear call to bank on his further development

Zhaire Smith's role with the Sixers isn't yet clear for this season, but the 20-year-old guard has a future with the team.

General manager Elton Brand confirmed that Wednesday. The team announced it has exercised Smith's third-year option for the 2020-21 season, worth $3.2 million

The Sixers acquired Smith and the Miami Heat's 2021 first-round pick last year in a draft-night trade with the Phoenix Suns, who received Mikal Bridges. Smith played in six regular-season games his rookie year, averaging 6.7 points and and 2.2 rebounds per game, but that's far from the whole story. Smith broke his foot in August, then suffered a severe allergic reaction and subsequent complications that led to him losing over 35 pounds. Over time, Smith regained his standout athleticism and rebuilt his jump shot after changing his form to compensate for his loss of strength (see story).

Head coach Brett Brown described Smith during training camp as a "pogo stick" and has praised his talent for on-ball defense, comparing him on multiple occasions to Avery Bradley. However, Smith has not been part of the Sixers' rotation during the preseason. Brown has acknowledged that development is a great priority for the Sixers with Smith than immediate contribution, especially after everything he went through as a rookie. The emergence of rookie Matisse Thybulle and solid play of Shake Milton during the preseason are further reasons why Smith hasn't been playing with the Sixers' regulars. Smith played the entire fourth quarter Tuesday night of the Sixers' 106-86 win over the Pistons and had seven points and three rebounds.

"It's just a process, so I'm not worried about it," he said. "As long as we get the win, it doesn't matter."

Given the potential the Sixers saw in Smith — and continue to see — it never seemed plausible that they would decline his third-year option.

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