Key players to watch for in 2018 Summer League
From point guard to center, the Sixers have a talented Summer League roster. Although it’s rare to find an all-star in the summer, Philly has a team full of gems. The key players to look out for might end up with a spot on the actual team if they can play up to their potential.
Earlier this week, fans got a glimpse of the official Summer League roster:
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) July 5, 2018
Don’t sleep on UCLA big man Jonah Bolden
Although the former Bruin left college basketball in 2016, his play in Israel has been productive. Playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv last year, he put up solid numbers that would translate well in the NBA.
He has the potential to backup Joel Embiid or Dario Saric at the 4 and 5 spots. At 6-foot-10 he has the size to rebound the ball and block some shots. His 5.5 rebounds and 1 block per game could be valuable on the Sixers, especially when Embiid needs to rest.
His offensive game isn’t polished but he did average nearly 7 points a game last season. This might become a couple easy buckets a game in the NBA.
Ben Simmons and Jonah Bolden posed for a picture on the 4th of July:
— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) July 5, 2018
Askia Booker might shock fans at point guard
Coming out of Colorado, Booker has spent a majority of his professional career playing in the NBA G-league. He is no stranger to big shots and has a decent touch from outside to make him a threat.
Last season for the Northern Arizona Suns, he averaged 16.6 points and nearly 6 assists a game. With the ability to shoot the three, he could be a nice combo guard for the Sixers.
One facet the team lacks is a reliable shooter at the point guard position. Despite being undersized, Booker is one of the key players that could sneak a spot on the regular season squad.
Hopefully, Booker can catch fire and prove that he can be a worthy NBA backup:
— Jeff Smith (@JSM8ith) July 5, 2018
Have Furkan Korkmaz and Chris McCullough developed enough?
Korkmaz and McCullough are two key players Philadelphia fans are hoping have developed enough to make a roster spot. Both in their 20’s, these young talents have the potential to be great, but might wind up in the G-league for another season.
Korkmaz is the type of wing the Sixers need coming off the bench. He is 6-foot-7, can score the ball, rebound and get other players involved. His 3.2 assists a game in the G-league is not bad for a player who doesn’t always need the ball. If he can mature quickly enough, his scoring contributions could be felt immediately.
McCullough has seen more NBA playing time than most on the summer league roster. He is another player like Bolden that can rebound and defend the paint. Hopefully, he has developed his inside scoring touch to match the intensity of other bigs on both ends of the court.
These two might not end up on the final roster, however, they show promise at very young ages.
Expect Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet to put on a show
Although Smith and Shamet have already signed contracts for Philadelphia, it will be fun to watch them in the Summer League. Shamet is a reliable point guard who scores the ball and makes his teammates better. Smith can rebound the ball and has some touch from outside.
Last season for Witchita State, Shamet was a fierce scorer from inside and out. He doesn’t always look to score, which will fit in well with the unselfish nature of the Sixers backcourt.
Smith was a freak for Texas Tech last season. He has incredible bounce and athleticism. With the ability to shoot and rebound, he will easily gel with the stars on the team.
It is easy to say these two are key players to watch since they are first round picks. Don’t expect them to shy away from the limelight during Summer League, they will come out to play.
ICYMI: Sixers sign forward Nemanja Bjelica
Now that the Sixers have multiple shooting big men, it will be interesting to see how playing time is divided. Bjelica provided valuable minutes last season for a Timberwolves team that hadn’t seen the playoffs in years.
He is a 6-foot-10, 4 or 5 that can shoot the ball well. Rebounding is not his strong suit but he could function very similarly to Saric as a backup. Although the team has multiple players with a similar size and skillset, the in-house competition will bring the best out of everyone.
Critics have already been talking about the ways Bjelica can fit in with the team:
Wilson Chandler, Nemanja Bjelica improve Sixers’ bench heading into season https://t.co/Ro7FSjB0HA
— NBA News Videos (@NBANewsVideos) July 6, 2018
Featured Image: Bryce Edwards via Flickr.
Stats via Basketball-reference.com.
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