After a day off, the Sixers got back to work at the MGM Resorts NBA Summer League.
The brief break didn’t do much for the team’s level of performance as the Sixers suffered an 87-75 loss to the Washington Wizards at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Sixers turned in a dismal offensive effort by shooting 34.2 percent from the field and 24.0 percent from three-point range to fall to 0-3 in Las Vegas. They will have another short rest before taking part in the tournament portion of the event later this week.
Let’s take a look at five observations from Monday’s action:
1. Sixers assistant coach Kevin Young came to Vegas with plans on following Brett Brown’s pace-and-space motto on offense. The catch is that only works if you have both elements, and this summer league squad is clearly lacking in the space department.
This Sixers roster just doesn’t have enough shot makers to keep up with the furious style of play that is natural for every summer league game.
Look no further than the first half on Monday. The Sixers shot 8 for 38 from the field (21.1 percent) and 2 for 15 (13.3 percent) from beyond the arc. That was enough to equal a 41-27 deficit at halftime, which was too much to overcome despite a push after intermission.
“As it pertains to this particular game, we did exactly what you said, we were trying to grind our way through the game itself. Couldn’t make a shot,” Young told reporters. “And then how that pertains to this actual tournament is — I actually thought we played well tonight, and so hopefully we can carry some of that over.”
The mound of missed shots was just the latest in a string of woeful offensive showings from the Sixers in Las Vegas, particularly from three-point range. The team has now connected on just 22 of 91 from deep, which includes Furkan Korkmaz’s 8-for-14 scorcher on Friday.
2. Speaking of Korkmaz, the Turkish swingman couldn’t recapture that magic he displayed against the Boston Celtics.
He managed to score just a single point (0 of 9 shooting) in addition to four rebounds, two assists and two turnovers in 23 minutes. That comes on the heels of a four-point night against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
All NBA players have an abundance of talent that allowed them to reach that level. The difference between real contributors and guys just biding their time on a roster is consistency. Korkmaz is still searching for the ability to make an impact on a nightly basis.
3. Throughout the pre-draft process with the Sixers, first-round pick Zhaire Smith was frequently put through drills and situations in which he served as the primary playmaker. The team already knew about his immense athleticism and tough defense, but what else could he bring to the table?
Smith showed a bit of that against the Wizards. With his offense lagging (two points on 1 for 9 shooting), the Texas Tech product had to lean on setting up his teammates. And while he finished with only three assists, that had more to do with the group’s inability to finish.
Just look at these two beauties on the fast break.
If the 19-year-old plans on seeing the floor as a rookie, he’s going to have to bring more of that to the table.
4. While Smith is likely a lock to be on the team when training camp rolls around, Jonah Bolden’s future remains up in the air. The big man proclaimed he was coming overseas to join the Sixers for the upcoming season and Monday he showed more of the player the franchise would like to add to the mix.
Bolden finished with 10 points and nine boards. He made 3 of his 8 shots, including 1 of 2 from three-point range in the defeat.
The 22-year-old still needs to get a handle of NBA defense (five fouls) and take care of the ball (three turnovers), but more nights like this one will go toward his case of being in Philadelphia for the 2018-19 campaign.
5. Despite the blowout, the Sixers still somehow managed to have the game’s best highlights.
Chris McCullough absolutely destroyed a challenger at the rim on this fast-break dunk.
Meanwhile, Smith lobbed one up for a Cameron Oliver throwdown.
McCullough finished with a team-high 20 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes off the bench.
The No. 15 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Troy Brown Jr., scored a game-high 23 points for the Wizards on 22 shot attempts. He also added eight boards and two assists.
Teammate Devin Robinson wasn't far behind with 22 points for the Wiz.