The Sixers, coming off a white knuckle win over the Bucks, were hoping to take down division rival and most hated NBA team in Philadelphia, the Celtics on Saturday. The story of this game was poor shooting and turnovers. The Sixers had six more turnovers and shot 37% from the field, which is a recipe for disaster.
Carsen Edwards scored 20 points for the Celtics, and that will likely result in Twitter warriors complaining about trading him. Here’s the bottom line on Carsen Edwards, he built like a brick wall, he is talented offensively, however he lacks size, court vision, and is unable to help off the ball on defense. He will be an instant offense kind of player, but I doubt he ever gets to a point to make the Sixers truly regret trading him. The starters played well, but the bench was absolutely atrocious, and the failure of the second unit wound up being one of the major difference makers. With that said, let’s jump into the player breakdown and grades.
Zhaire Smith continues to show insane hops and athleticism on both ends of the floor. His on ball defense is absolutely suffocating, and he took his matchup with Carsen Edwards seriously and forced him into several terrible shots. Smith seems to be at the rim for every single shot that goes up, and he will definitely be an offensive rebounding threat this season. Like everyone on this Summer Sixers team, and this is going to be a recurring theme in this recap, Smith has a lot of trouble with ball-handling. When he puts the ball on the floor, he doesn’t have the control you want to see. He moves perfectly off the ball and fills the lane properly. Smith received the ball in several catch-and-shoot situations and was not afraid to let it fly. Overall a very complete game from Smith, and he will benefit greatly playing alongside top tier talent.
24 minutes, 14 points on 4-9 from the field, 2-5 from three, 4-5 from the line, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 turnovers, 1 steal, +10.
This man is an absolute maniac, and I LOVE IT. Pelle truly believes that he can block every shot his man puts up. His vertical leap is deceptively high, and it allows him to get to any ball and swat it with power. Pelle is always in the right place defensively, and his help defense is at an NBA level. Pelle is also an above average rebounder on both ends of the court. His boxouts are fundamentally sound and allow him to get most rebounds. His offensive game is limited to layups and dunks, which in today’s NBA could severely limit his usage. I will say that his free throw form is very smooth, and a jumper may not be out of the question in his future. I think he will see minutes on nights where Jo and/or Al take a night off. Pelle and Kyle O’Quinn will split backup duties, and they may be an offense/defense platoon. Overall, a lot of positive energy and playmaking by Pelle.
26 minutes, 9 points on 2-3 from the field, 5-7 from the line, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 turnovers, 1 steal, 3 blocks +3.
Shayok has continued to show a smooth and effective jump shot and was rewarded today with a move into the starting lineup over Jalen Jones. Unfortunately, once Shayok puts the ball on the floor, it all falls apart. Guards pick his pocket or he dribbles head down into a bigger defender and loses the ball. This team is a bunch of catch-and-shoot players, but they all must improve their handle. Defensively, Shayok needs a lot of work. He is unable to defend 1-on-1 without committing fouls and sometimes looks confused in help defense sets. These things will hopefully improve with time and practice.
23 minutes, 14 points on 6-12 from the field, 2-7 from three, 0-1 from the line, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, 1 steal, +2.
Thybulle is everywhere on defense. He is an absolute menace in the passing lane. He deflects every ball that comes near him. When he has Ben and Jo around him, he will look even better than he does now. Thybulle has shown no fear when it comes to catch-and-shoot situations. The shots haven’t all fallen, but building him as a 3 and D type player to fill the hole that Robert Covington left is the right move. Thybulle is still learning the sets and seems comfortable at times and lost at times. Thybulle stuffs the stat sheet and shows no fear, and his floor continues to rise. Bottom line: his defense alone is reason to be optimistic about his fit on this team.
28 minutes, 15 points on 5-12 from the field, 4-9 from three, 1-2 from the line, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnovers, 1 steal, 2 blocks, +2.
Shake was awarded with a four-year deal this week, solidifying his position on the Sixers. Unfortunately, Shake has struggled in all facets of the game through two Summer League contests. His jump shot isn’t falling, his drives reek of desperation, his ball-handling is below average, and his passing is loose and sloppy. We’ve seen what Shake is capable of, and I believe that he will find that form again, but it is certainly alarming. Defensively, Shake is in the right place and stays with his man but falls for jab steps and pump fakes a little too easily, giving up significant space and allowing easy jumpers. My hope is that this is rust and Shake will have some solid games before the Summer League comes to an end.
28 minutes, 9 points on 2-15 from the field, 0-8 from three, 5-7 from the line, 2 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal, 2 blocks, +5.
Zhaire Smith – B
Norvelle Pelle – A
Marial Shayok – B
Matisse Thybulle – B+
Shake Milton – C-