The700Level

Markelle Fultz ascends to hesi pull-up jimbo heaven in 2nd Utah game

Markelle Fultz ascends to hesi pull-up jimbo heaven in 2nd Utah game

Well, he can shoot. That much we can probably take to the bank.

Markelle Fultz had a largely up-and-down night in his second Utah Jazz Summer League outing -- his first half being the "down," and the second half being the "up" -- that in aggregate once again pointed to the many strengths and handful of weaknesses he will likely display as a first-year pro. Defense is a concern, primary playmaking is a concern, conditioning and stamina is a concern. Shooting? Not a concern. 

If you followed Fultz's summer league debut on any media platform, you are no doubt already familiar with the phrase "hesi pull-up jimbo," as coined by Finals MVP Kevin Durant (h/t DMV streetball parlance). That phrase, once applied to our No. 1 overall pick, already seems likely to follow him for his career's entirety: Not just because of its brain-sticking inanity, but because a shot as smooth and distinctive and consistent as Fultz's should have its own name. We'll be watching the Hesi Pull-up Jimbo for the next five to 10 (to 25) years and will lack the proper vocabulary to describe it anyway, may as well embrace it now. 

In any event, the HPUJ was obviously in full effect on Wednesday night in Utah against the home-court Jazz. It was just about the only thing working for Fultz in the first half, where he turned the ball over four times with no assists, got repeatedly shut down by Dante Exum in the half-court, and also got lightly toasted by Exum on multiple occasions at the other end, looking slow and small (and winded) by comparison. It was the kind of half that has you nervously flipping to old DX strengths videos and scouting reports to persuade yourself to keep the faith while your eyes and stomach tell you that all is not right with dude. 

But things leveled out in the second half -- Fultz got more opportunities in the half-court, his teammates set better picks and hit more shots, and an improved team scheme neturalized Exum and rookie backcourt mate Donovan Mitchell enough for the Sixers to mount an unlikely late-game comeback. And leading the charge was Fultz in full MF Doom mode, ultimately scoring 23 on the night and 13 in the quarter, including 9 of 16 FG and 4 of 8 from deep (really 4 of 6 when you discount his two half-ending heaves from beyond the timeline). In the final minutes, he casually shed his defender with a stepback into a swished wing three to cut Utah's lead to one that had process trusters and everyone else in full swoon. Didn't look that impressed with himself, either. 

It's often irritatingly facile to trace a player's potential through his prospective fit with a teammate -- I can still remember Dennis Scott on the 2010 summer league call insisting that Evan Turner's game would blossom once he got to share the perimeter with Andre Iguodala, an obvious and dangerous untruth. But damn if you can't see Fultz and Ben Simmons filling the crevices in each other's game like a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and two-percent milk: A couple games of Fultz as a semi-pro and it's clear his most obvious player comp is Kyrie Irving, a truly dynamic scoring guard with a solid, if occasionally uninspiring, verve for distributing. Putting Simbo on the floor with him could open up his game like Irving's has next-leveled alongside You Know Who. (Not J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert.) 

Anyway, the Sixers still lost, 100-94, and Fultz still ended with more turnovers (six) than assists (five, all but one of which came in the final frame). But life is still beautiful in the Post-Processverse. Players, Jerry! Real NBA players! The two months between summer league and preseason this year are gonna be the longest any Sixers fan has ever known. 

(Postscript: Sixers 2016 first-rounder Furkan Korkmaz also supposedly played in this game, having officially signed his NBA contract earlier Wednesday -- I watched all 40 minutes and can not confirm he is yet on the continent.)

Former Eagles WR Jason Avant competes on American Ninja Warrior

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America Ninja Warrior

Former Eagles WR Jason Avant competes on American Ninja Warrior

On the next episode of American Ninja Warrior, airing June 25 at 9 p.m. on NBC, former longtime Eagle Jason Avant competes with Jalen Mills and Quintin Mikell in attendance to cheer him on.

Avant, 35, appeared in 148 games in the NFL, 116 with the Eagles, before retiring and settling in the area and opening Launch, a trampoline park in Deptford, New Jersey.

He has to make it through the first round … right?

The show’s Facebook page gave this preview of his run through the course.

Jason Avant - American Ninja Warrior

Can Jason Avant fly like an Eagle? The Ninja Warrior Philadelphia Qualifiers air MONDAY at 9/8c on NBC.

Posted by American Ninja Warrior Nation on Friday, June 22, 2018

He seems to have a little trouble on the beginning stages of the course, but, would they really tease Avant’s run only for him to end up losing? My completely uninformed guess is that Avant makes it to the end and smashes the buzzer.

I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see.

Zhaire Smith has already unlocked the cheesesteak photo op

Zhaire Smith has already unlocked the cheesesteak photo op

Cheesesteaks are great.

People who are new to Philadelphia should eat cheesesteaks. People who are not new to Philadelphia should also eat cheesesteaks.

New 76ers draft pick Zhaire Smith is new to Philadelphia so he went to eat a cheesesteak.

Thankfully, it was a pretty good one at Jim's Steaks on South Street. It appears as if there is no ketchup or other strange substances on his cheesesteak. Hot peppers are not only acceptable but encouraged, in my humble cheesesteak eating opinion.

Congrats, Zhaire for enjoying a cheesesteak successfully without embarrassment.

You can learn much more about Smith and his abilities and fit with the Sixers right here.