The Philadelphia 76ers concluded their Las Vegas Summer League experience with a 108-102 victory over the Toronto Raptors. Sixers fans got a taste of Matisse Thybulle, the 20th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, as well as Zhaire Smith, who spent most of the 2018-19 season recovering from both an injury as well as an illness stemming from an allergic reaction. Philly fans also got a first look at 54th pick, Marial Shayok.
Most eyes were zoomed in on the aforementioned Thybulle and Smith, but Shayok was hard to miss in the four games he played for the Summer Sixers. The rookie out of Iowa St. averaged 20.8 minutes per game and 14.5 points per contest, which equals 25.1 points per 36 minutes.
During his time on the court, the rookie, who turns 24 on July 26, looked like a capable and willing defender, but his smooth offensive game is what stood out the most. Shayok shot 46 percent from the field, along with 40 percent from three.
Why did the Sixers sign him to a two-way deal?
Currently, the Philadelphia 76ers have two roster spots open. They have 13 players signed to NBA contracts of an available 15. Norvel Pelle and Marial Shayok are both on two-way deals, which do not count towards the 15. Overall, a team has the ability to possess 17 players (15 NBA contracts and two that are two-way deals).
It is way too early to project the impact that Marial Shayok will have in the NBA. However, if his performance in the Las Vegas Summer League tells us a story, then Sixers fans should expect a contributor. There is always room for a player who can get buckets, while not being a liability on defense.
If the 76ers know that Marial Shayok has the floor of NBA contributor (let alone the ceiling of a regular rotation player), then what is he doing on a two-way contract?
The Sixers have the ability to bring two veterans in to fill out their roster, but if Shayok has the potential to be the guy, the 76ers would be wrong for occupying a two-way spot made for development and opportunity.
If the team is sure Shayok has the ability to be a contributor, he should be signed to an NBA contract. This would then open up a two-way slot, allowing the team the ability to potentially find another diamond in the pool of unsigned talent.
If the team is hesitant to throw Shayok into the fire too soon, they’re still able to hold the 54th pick in Delaware, allowing him to develop at his own speed. It’s not like the team can dress 15 players per night, anyway.
The argument against signing Marial Shayok to an NBA contract
The two open roster spots that the Sixers are currently sitting on could potentially result in guys like Kyle Korver or Thabo Sefolosha. Realistically, how much playing time will the 14th and 15th members of the team receive? What will the team do with Jonah Bolden?
There are a lot of questions which I am sure will be answered soon. After watching the Las Vegas Summer League, there are no questions about Shayok’s game. Let’s not ignore the fact that it’s the Summer League, filled with players scratching their way into either the NBA, the G-League, or a European contract.
Make no mistake about it – Shayok will get buckets in the G-League, which is expected of most players that are drafted. NBA talent should roast G-League competition, which is basically what the Summer League is. The goal of evaluating talent is identifying transferable skills. For example, does Player-X have a skill that will make an impact on the next level, regardless of the level of competition?
For Shayok, the smoothness and touch on his jump shot are what stood out the most. Also, he has a good motor on defense. Not once did I notice him give up on a play, which is huge for a rookie, known more for his offensive game.
Would it be more beneficial to let Shayok torch G-League competition for a full season, and sporadically sit in with the 76ers for practices and game action? It seemed to work for Shake Milton, but it seems like Shayok is a step ahead of Milton with regards to their career trajectories as rookies in the NBA.
What roster moves could lead to a Shayok promotion?
Elton Brand has some decisions to make. The back end of the roster can be used many ways, and for a team with championship aspirations, veteran leadership is a premium product. For a team that’s constantly looking for ways to maintain a flow of young talent, management needs to get creative.
The most realistic scenario that could lead to a Marial Shayok NBA contract would be if the 76ers decide not to fill the 15-man roster via free agency. Let’s say Shayok has a strong start in the G-League; meanwhile, the 14th or 15th spot on the roster is collecting dust. This could lead to a promotion.
Maybe the Sixers sign two veteran free agents between now and the opener. Jonah Bolden, as sources have told The Painted Lines, is a name the team could explore trading in the future, which would open up a roster slot. If the team is motivated to see one more run from Bolden, this would be a good opportunity to give Shayok that equal amount of time to develop in Delaware with the Blue Coats.
Signs are pointing towards Marial Shayok becoming an actual contributor, which is yet another great find by the 76ers scouting department. The selections of Landry Shamet and Shake Milton at 26 and 54 respectively in the 2018 draft, followed by Marial Shayok at 54, shows us that the Sixers scouting department has been putting in the hours.