The Sixers (0-1) faced off with the Utah Jazz (0-1) in Salt Lake City Summer League action on Wednesday night. Charles Bassey scored 17 points and ripped down 9 rebounds as the Sixers outlasted the Jazz, 86-82.
The Sixers started Cassius Winston, Trevelin Queen, Julian Champagnie, Charlie Brown Jr., and Charles Bassey.
The Jazz started Justin Robinson, Caleb Homesley, Vic Law, Jordan Usher, and Bruno Caboclo.
Charles Bassey had a much better night holding onto the basketball in the Sixers’ second Summer League game. He caught floating passes over the top of defensive matchups as he moved through the air towards the basket. A couple of those receptions resulted in emphatic alley-oop dunks. Bassey also connected on a soft floater moving in the middle of the lane off of a floater.
He tries to dunk every time he’s within an arm’s length of the basket. When you try to throw down with some punch every time you get that close, you’re going to inevitably lose the ball going up or get rejected by the rim from time to time. What’s important is that Bassey shows he has the coordination to snag the rock when it comes his way the vast majority of the time. His hands were much better on Wednesday following a poor showing in that regard on Tuesday.
Cassius Winston made some great passes throughout the game. Whether it was zipping the ball ahead in transition with enough precision to lead teammates to the basket or threading needles to dunkers in traffic, he showcased some intuitive playmaking. There’s a lot of raw talent in these games, and Winston looked every bit like a point guard with some semblance of professional experience. He was up for the speed of the game, which is more than you can say for many of the guys getting minutes.
There was some awful shot selection from Myles Powell and Grant Riller. I’m all for attacking close-outs if you’re getting to the rim or pulling up in space for midrange jumpers. But, they weren’t really getting separation on their efforts to blow by heavy close-outs. They then compounded the issue by pulling up for contested midrange jumpers. If the helper is rotating to stop the penetration, there’s a teammate open. Make that pass or kick to the weak side to facilitate a new rotation. There’s no reason to build a city of bricks on contested 15-footers.
Charlie Brown Jr. should be trying to escape the Matisse Thybulle mold on the offensive end of the floor. But, no one needs to see him dribbling between his legs, trying to crack individual defenders, making risky entry passes, or hijacking the offense with shots he’s not going to be in a position to take at the NBA level for the foreseeable future. Threes off the catch, off-ball cuts, and slashing when the ball swings.
That’s a good segue to the next point.
Even with two-way contracts prevalent, there were maybe three or four prospects, total, in this game that have realistic chances of making an NBA team right now. Maybe one or two have chances of cracking an NBA rotation. I’m all for having fun in Summer League, but so many guys jack shots. Save for players drafted in the top half of the first round, no one here is going to be a high-usage featured scorer at the NBA level at this stage of their careers. Why not focus on making the little plays that stand out? So many guys just toss up garbage that playing a less self-serving game is more notable. Beat your offensive assignment to spots, make timely defensive rotations, own the glass, win every 50-50 ball.
Not that wins and losses in Summer League really matter in the grand scheme of a league year, but I would’ve liked to have seen Trevelin Queen get the ball in crunch time. Cassius Winston handled the ball throughout the game. Let’s see what the free agent signee and reigning G-League MVP can do with the ball in his hands and the game hanging in the balance.
Speaking of Winston, that shooting mechanic needs some serious rebuilding. His knees buckle inward when he loads up. I’d be less concerned if either of his three-point attempts were close misses.
The Sixers (1-1) will face Chet Holmgren — the 2nd overall pick in last month’s draft — and the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-0) on Thursday. Tip-off is 6 PM, Eastern time. You can watch the action on ESPN3.