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NBA summer league: Marial Shayok a player worth watching, impressive effort from Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle, more from Sixers' win over Raptors

NBA summer league: Marial Shayok a player worth watching, impressive effort from Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle, more from Sixers' win over Raptors

The Sixers are finished with competitive basketball for a while. 

The team wrapped up their summer league slate Friday with a 108-102 win over the Toronto Raptors in a consolation game at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, ending with a 2-3 record.

Here are observations from the win: 

• Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle both continued to make eye-catching plays. Smith sniffed out a dribble handoff and plucked away a steal early in the first quarter, while Thybulle swished his first jumper, a spot-up three from the left corner. 

Though Thybulle did commit several classic “rookie mistakes” Friday, including catching the ball out of bounds and fouling a jump shooter on an overeager closeout, the tools are there for Smith and Thybulle to be members of the Sixers’ regular rotation. 

Thybulle had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists Friday and Smith posted nine points and three steals. Both shot 3 for 6 from the floor. 

The intensity level in a summer league consolation game is going to be less than in a regular season contest — it’s only natural. That said, you have to like that Smith and Thybulle clearly took pride in competing. Smith was still leaping in the air to contend for offensive rebounds late in the third quarter, treating a July afternoon in Las Vegas like something approximating a meaningful game. The two love to play and are going to push for opportunities when the games count.

• For the second straight game, Shake Milton was sidelined by an ankle injury. Milton’s first summer league campaign was disappointing. He played in three games before sustaining his injury and shot 6 for 36.

The Sixers won’t be too deterred by Milton’s shooting struggles — the four-year deal they gave him indicates as much. They would have loved for him to average 30-plus points per game and make a strong, early case for backup point guard minutes, but it’s unlikely the summer league was ever going to have a large impact on Milton’s future with the team. 

• Two-way player Marial Shayok is going to be a player worth following this season.

The rookie played point guard for a stretch during the second quarter Friday, at one point snaking around a screen from Christ Koumadje, blocking off his man with his body and knocking down a mid-range jumper.

Following a timeout, the 23-year-old then stroked a three-pointer from the left wing before strolling down the court for an easy dunk off a steal. 

The 6-foot-6 Shayok had 14 points on 6 for 11 shooting Friday.

He seems best suited for the wing at the NBA level, but the freedom to play different positions and have the ball in his hands should help Shayok when he’s with the Delaware Blue Coats and head coach Connor Johnson. In all likelihood, that same flexibility to expand his game and experiment with new skills wouldn’t have existed for Shayok if the Sixers placed him on the regular active roster immediately. 

• PJ Dozier and Haywood Highsmith each shot the ball well after struggling with their jumpers during the Sixers’ first four games of summer league. 

Highsmith had 16 points on 6 for 11 shooting. Dozier hit 8 of 14 shots for 22 points, showcasing his fluid scoring abilities. He also tallied seven assists. 

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Watch Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade share vulnerable All-Star moment over Kobe

Watch Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade share vulnerable All-Star moment over Kobe

A huge portion of the weekend's NBA All-Star Game was dedicated to remembering Lakers legend and Philly-area native Kobe Bryant, from the touching pre-game tribute to the players' jersey numbers.

There were plenty of Bryant jerseys among the weekend's attendees, too, including Sixers legend Allen Iverson, who sported a No. 8 yellow Bryant jersey during Sunday's All-Star Game.

Iverson was interacting with some fans at the United Center in Chicago when he bumped into Dwyane Wade, and the two shared a beautifully unscripted, vulnerable moment. Incredibly, one fan captured the scene, and video of the two legends' interaction surfaced Tuesday afternoon:

That's something special.

Wade and Iverson's NBA careers overlapped for seven years, including six shared All-Star Games. Bryant entered the league the same year as Iverson, and Wade made his final All-Star Game the year Bryant retired.

The three spent so much shared time in the league, creating their own stories and navigating their own paths, and it's an absolute tragedy that Bryant wasn't in Chicago this past weekend to enjoy yet another show from the league's stars.

Moments like this one help remind fans that, while players like Bryant, Wade, and Iverson often seem superhuman, they're ultimately people like us, and they process grief just like we do.

Good on Wade and Iverson for being there for each other.

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

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Matisse Thybulle, Jonah Bolden and T.J. McConnell are vacationing together during All-Star break

Though the NBA All-Star festivities have officially come to an end, the Sixers aren’t set to play again for another three nights. When you’re an avid sports fan, that seems like an eternity.

What are Sixers fans supposed to do during this break while they wait for their favorite team to get back in action?

I suggest a daily dose of wholesome content.

Today's edition of wholesome content comes from a place of warmer weather, with Sixers old and new vacationing together.

That's right, Matisse Thybulle is currently on vacation with former Sixers T.J. McConnell and Jonah Bolden. The past and present of fan favorites have come together to enjoy the little break in their hectic schedules.

And by the look of things, they're definitely enjoying themselves with ... whatever they're doing here.

And when the players are on the court, fans care about their shoe choice  — so the same should apply off the court, right?

With that being said, Thybulle went with a white croc and is rockin' them. One might even say ... crockin' them. Yes, I actually wrote that.

Anyways, the Sixers are back in action Thursday night when they host the Nets. Then and only then will the bad puns stop ... maybe.

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