NBA summer league

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. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

NBA summer league: How Matisse Thybulle shined in Sixers' loss to Pistons

NBA summer league: How Matisse Thybulle shined in Sixers' loss to Pistons

The Sixers finished their regular season summer league slate on a losing note.

Matisse Thybulle had his best performance, but the Pistons remain undefeated after a 96-81 win Wednesday afternoon at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. The Sixers fell to 1-3.

Here are observations from the loss.

• It didn’t take Thybulle long to get his hands on the ball on defense. On the first possession, Thybulle nearly created a fast break on a steal. A few minutes later, he did just that.

He continues to look every bit the disruptive player he was at Washington. While most gave credit to the zone for Thybulle’s crazy steal and block stats, the Sixers’ 2019 first-round pick anticipates as well as anyone and is incredibly quick once he recognizes where the ball is going. He had a pair of steals and a number of deflections.

The one clear weakness in Thybulle’s game is ball handling, but he’s looked more comfortable in that regard as the summer league has gone on. He carried out a fake dribble handoff at the top of the key that he then took to his left for a two-hand dunk.

He also had a nice dribble drive before halftime that he dished off to Zhaire Smith, who drew a foul. He had three assists and just one turnover.

His shooting stroke continues to look good. He was 2 of 4 from three and 2 of 2 from the line. He finished with 12 points on 4 of 8 overall.

• Marial Shayok returned to the lineup after missing Monday’s loss with a knee injury. The 2019 second-rounder and recent recipient of a two-way deal continued to show off his offensive ability. He made two threes, including a nice pull-up in transition.

He’s also shown the ability to operate as a ball handler in the pick-and-roll. There’s still a rawness to Shayok’s game. He needs to work on his decision making and shot selection (he finished just 4 of 14), but there’s plenty to like here.

• Smith got off to a slow start offensively, but made a couple plays that should excite Brett Brown and the Sixers.

He made a pair threes, but his most impressive shot came midway through the third quarter. He pulled up around a screen and nailed a midrange jumper off the dribble and looked natural doing so. One of his threes was also off the biunce. 

We all know about Smith’s elite athleticism and defensive prowess. If he can become a confident and consistent shooter, that could make him a legitimate contributor this season. He was 4 of 8 for 11 points.

• Norvel Pelle and Christ Koumadje continue to commit fouls at an unfathomable rate. Both players show ability on the defensive end with their ability to protect the rim and on offense as rollers and finishers. But they both lack discipline and have a long way to go if they want to help an NBA team. They combined for five blocks, but 13 fouls.

• Shake Milton was out with an ankle injury he suffered Monday against the Thunder. It was clearly not the summer league output he would’ve liked to have. He showed his ability to run the offense, but struggled mightily with his shot — a skill he showed off frequently last season in the G League. Milton is locked in for the next four years and will have plenty of time during training camp and the preseason to prove he belongs. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

NBA summer league: Sixers fall to Thunder in OT after improbable comeback as Shake Milton leaves with apparent injury

NBA summer league: Sixers fall to Thunder in OT after improbable comeback as Shake Milton leaves with apparent injury

Summer league games are usually not the cleanest or sharpest, but they’re often interesting, in their own way. Monday's matchup between the Sixers and Oklahoma City Thunder was not an exhibition of beautiful basketball, but it did provide plenty of unexpected drama.

The Sixers fell in Las Vegas against Oklahoma City, 84-81, after coming back from a 31-point deficit to force overtime. Rookie Matisse Thybulle's driving layup off a pindown screen tied the game at 81 with 10.6 seconds remaining, and the Sixers got a stop on the Thunder's final possession of regulation. Oklahoma City held the Sixers scoreless in the two-minute overtime as PJ Dozier missed a long three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game.

The team’s next game is Wednesday against the Pistons at 3 p.m. (NBA TV).

Marial Shayok missed Monday’s game with left knee soreness and is day-to-day, according to The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. The second-round pick signed a two-way contract with the Sixers Sunday.

• Shake Milton had an auspicious start, knocking down a contested three-pointer from the top of the key on his first shot attempt after making just 4 of his first 29 shots in summer league.

That was, however, his best moment of the day. Milton left the game late in the second quarter after appearing to injure his ankle stepping on the foot of first-round pick Darius Bazley. Milton, who walked to the locker room after the play, had five points on 2 for 7 shooting and four turnovers.

• Zhaire Smith was the Sixers’ best player.

He missed his first four shots but made 8 of his next 15, including a pull-up three from the left wing early in the fourth quarter, and finished with a team-high 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Smith has made some mistakes in summer league — including four turnovers vs. the Thunder — but you expect he’ll benefit from the chance to play and learn from those errors in a relatively low-pressure setting. 

• The points of emphasis for Thybulle as a rookie will likely be playing disruptive defense and knocking down three-point shots. Those are two things he can do immediately at the NBA level. 

A secondary, long-term focus for Thybulle should be ball handling. On one first-quarter play Monday, he pump faked from the right wing, took a weak dribble to the middle and was stripped. On a second-quarter play, Thybulle started an unsure drive to the hoop, lost control on a behind-the-back move and had to kick it back out behind the three-point line. While developing his handle will take time and isn’t essential for his rookie year, at a minimum he’ll need to be stronger with the ball come the regular season. 

Thybulle had 14 points on 4 for 10 shooting (2 of 6 from three-point range), four rebounds and two steals.

His instincts and closing speed on defense remain highly impressive. He read this pass and swiped the ball with ease.

• When you watch a game involving Norvel Pelle, it’s a good bet that you’re going to see one or two eye-opening, above-the-rim blocks.

The Sixers will hope they can continue refining his other tools as a rim protector, including the ability to defend without fouling and choose the right gambles to make. Pelle’s athleticism and shot blocking are outstanding skills, but they’re not necessarily enough to cement an NBA future. 

• Pelle only played six minutes Monday as the Sixers gave Christ Koumadje an extended look. In 20 minutes, the 7-foot-4 Koumadje had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. 

• Dozier and Jalen Jones were not bashful about shooting the ball, and neither had much success. The pair combined to shoot 3 for 27. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers