76ers

5 Sixers summer league observations: Another cold-shooting night to finish pool play

5 Sixers summer league observations: Another cold-shooting night to finish pool play

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.

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Zoo's Views: Jonah Bolden's unique path to the Sixers

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Zoo's Views: Jonah Bolden's unique path to the Sixers

On this edition of Zoo's Views, Marc Zumoff talks with Jonah Bolden, Sixers rookie forward. The two discuss what opening night was like for the rookie.

Bolden also talks about how he fell in love with basketball, why he decided to leave UCLA after only playing there one year, what it was like playing overseas and having to adjust to the language barrier playing in a non-English speaking country.

Also, his experience being a "draft-and-stash" player.

1:30 - Thoughts on his NBA debut on opening night.
4:00 - Knowing Ben Simmons in Australia.
9:00 - His father got him into basketball.
14:00 - His time at UCLA and leaving UCLA.
18:00 - Experience playing overseas in a non-English speaking country.
24:00 - Who does he compare to?

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Joel Embiid has colorful thoughts on dating in the NBA, being a rocket scientist, more

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Joel Embiid has colorful thoughts on dating in the NBA, being a rocket scientist, more

There are a few high notes any profile on Joel Embiid hits: his tall tale about killing a lion as a youngster; learning to shoot from watching white people on YouTube; his love of Shirley Temples; his many social media exploits.

Clay Skipper’s piece on Embiid for GQ’s first digital cover treads all of that familiar territory. But it also explores some other interesting areas of Embiid’s life.

For instance, Embiid had this to say about dating in the NBA:

"You gotta do your background check,' he says. 'You don't want to be that guy marrying a girl that someone else in the NBA has been with.... I'm sure some guys end up getting married to women that have been around. And maybe on the court they also get told' — here he lowers his voice to a whisper — 'Hey, I f—ed your wife.'

A highlight of the piece for Sixers fans will be Embiid’s insistence that he wants to be with the Sixers for the rest of his career, even if Skipper sounds skeptical of Embiid’s love for Philly.

Skipper writes, “Asked what happens to the Process nickname if he goes to another team, Embiid says, ‘I want to be in Philly for the rest of my life,’ which seems like something only somebody who has been in Philly for less than five years might say.”

Oh, and apparently Embiid still hasn’t given up on his childhood dream of being an astronaut. According to Skipper, even though he learned on a trip to NASA last year that he’s way too big to fit into a spaceship, Embiid thinks it would be “easy” to pick up rocket science once his NBA career is over.

There are a number of other good nuggets in the profile, from Embiid’s despair at reading Twitter comments calling him a “bust” to details about his oversized diet.

You can read the full piece here

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