Photo by Austin Krell/The Painted Lines

The summer Sixers (2-0) took on the Boston Celtics (3-0) on Saturday evening in Las Vegas. Without Tyrese Maxey, points were hard to come by for the Sixers, who succumbed to the Celtics in their third Summer League showing.  

Here are my observations from the Summer League affair.

First Half

From the jump, Daryl Morey made it known that Filip Petrusev was expected to be a stash pick for at least next season. So, it’s not necessarily imperative that he figure everything out immediately. But, there are some fair concerns about what exactly he does to inspire an NBA team’s confidence. Despite being featured in high pick-and-rolls early in this game, the big man was not looking to pop at all. With smaller guards handling the ball, like Frank Mason III, basketball intelligence would say to clear the lane and drag the rim-protector away from the paint.

Instead, Petrusev elected to dive out of ball screens and flash for post-ups. Those post-ups showcased his lack of touch around the rim, though. He struggled to get a feel for the basket as he approached the rim and missed a handful of finishes up close. So, concern about what his swing skill is is reasonable.

Petrusev’s reputation as a defender was spotty coming into the draft. However, that side of the ball has actually been his more impressive end of the floor. Petrusev has demonstrated a knack for well-timed block attempts. Some of them have been cheapies. He’ll have his hands raised and leverage his size over smaller players to smack the ball away with ease. But, there have also been some blocks in which he’s waited for the opposing big to go up and focused on going for the ball. In doing so, he’s been surprisingly effective as a rim-protector against opposing bigs.

“Crash” Tucker

Rayjon Tucker must love bumper cars because the guy just crashes into everything. Whether it’s swooping in for a rebound or pushing the rim, he actively tries to break tackles like LeGarrette Blount. The Sixers might have their own Gerald Wallace on a Two-Way deal. If you don’t know who that is, boy, I’m old.

Not Another Conversation About The Process

Look, I enjoy a good “When does The Process end?” debate as much as the next person, but the arguments made by national broadcasters are typically horrible. I totally get that the broadcast crew is trying to find things to talk about (perhaps the game they’re narrating would be a good topic) during a Summer League game. But, to insinuate that the Sixers made their fans sit through those years is ridiculous. Fans chose to buy tickets. No one forced them to do it.

The Process was always the right course of action. I would also posit that there are franchises before, after, and during Philadelphia’s rebuild who have been hopelessly awful, too. The difference is that the sports landscape in this country wasn’t prepared for a bigger-market franchise to openly undergo a dramatic rebuild. But, people will continue to make easily refutable arguments about it because it feeds into a national desire to mock Philadelphia’s teams and fans.

Second Half

First-round pick Jaden Springer showed more assertiveness as a handler with Tyrese Maxey out (more on that later). While he was able to squeeze around some small spaces to get to the rim for finishes, he has a ways to go to develop comfort with his handle as he pushes the lane. There were a number of occasions in which he tried to attack the paint but had the ball poked away as he began his descent downhill.

The Sixers’ development staff is going to have to try to break his habit of rising off two feet. It makes logical sense to have such a habit, as jumping off two feet makes for better balance and body control. However, it hinders vertical athleticism. There were a handful of plays at the rim in which opposing Celtics devoured the ball to mitigate Springer’s finishes because he jumped off both feet and couldn’t finish above the rim. Perhaps that’s a physical limitation that is simply part of who Springer is. Time will tell. But, it’s something that the Sixers will want to try to coax out of the rookie as they develop his body and athleticism.

Out The Mud

I know I wrote about this for the team’s second Summer League game, but Paul Reed’s energy is incredible. His feel for timing his second effort is extremely impressive. He’s always lurking near the rim when the shot goes up and positions himself perfectly to get involved in the action. He’s not always the biggest player hovering around the paint. But, he leverages his width and athleticism to emerge from the pile just as the ball comes off the rim. If he doesn’t secure the glass the first time up, his second-effort usually results in an offensive board and put-back. The NBA players he’ll battle against are not the same as the Summer League prospects. But, it’s loose change like that that will keep Rivers intrigued when his offensive game goes through slumps in his second season. 

Fast Break Points

  • Second-year guard Tyrese Maxey departed Las Vegas to host a youth camp in his hometown of Garland, Texas, the Sixers told reporters earlier on Saturday. Maxey is not expected to return to Summer League, a team source told The Painted Lines.
  • Jaden Springer’s three-point shot has a long way to go. He’s not close to ready for NBA distance yet.

The Sixers (2-1) will play the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, August 15th. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 PM, EST. You can catch the action on ESPN 2.