Summer League Primer

Let’s be honest, we’re all looking at the clock, waiting for that midnight alert on our phones and a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski that LeBron James will sign with the Philadelphia 76ers. So, here’s a little Summer League primer to help you waste some time and get you ready for next Friday night. Fake Sixers basketball is less than a week away! Lets get at it.

Sixers Summer League Depth Chart

PG: Landry Shamet / Tra Holder
SG: Zhaire Smith / Shake Milton
SF: Furkan Korkmaz / Isaiah Miles
PF: Cam Oliver / Chris McCullough
C: Jonah Bolden / Norvel Pelle

Guards

Landry Shamet, 6’5″, Wichita State
Dating profile: Perfect dates are going for longs hikes along Glacier National Park, having outdoor picnics and eating fancy cheese. Cheetos/Broadway enthusiast and lover of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Don’t tell me I look like Spike Eskin.
Player profile: Landry was a two-year star at Wichita State, averaging 14.9 points per game, 5.2 assists with a 65 true-shooting percentage, while shooting 44.2 percent from three on 5.9 attempts per game. When given more minutes and a bigger role for the Shockers last season (18.8 percent usage rate to 23.1 percent), Shamet’s major numbers continued to show progress.
Skills to watch: Shamet’s main skillset is his jump shot. He has a very quick release and can step out well beyond the arc. Shamet is a very instinctual player and excels in the pick and roll, something that should allow him to quickly assimilate into Brett Brown’s offense.
Areas to improve: It’s obvious that Shamet needs to increase his physicality and frame in order to not be a liability on defense in the NBA. Shamet’s lack of explosion limits his ability to finish around the rim. While some extra strength will help him on on both ends, don’t expect Shamet to be an impact player on the defensive end anytime soon.
Chances to make the Sixers: Shamet has a true skill in a league where the importance of having shooters and spacing is paramount. 100 percent.

I could watch this all day.

Zhaire Smith, 6’4″, Texas Tech
Dating profile: I like my artsy with a little fartsy. I like Billy Murray movies, beef brisket and French wine. If you, like, don’t like any of those 3, consider yourself blocked by my massive 6’10 wingspan.
Player profile: Zhaire Smith comes in as the elite defensive talent from the 2018 NBA Draft. The 16th pick in the draft averaged 11.3 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists with a true-shooting percentage of 61.8 percent; and 45 percent from three-point range on 1.5 attempts per game. Zhaire was a three-star recruit out of Garland Texas and will now make over $14 million over the next four years – way to go, Zhaire. He excels moving without the ball and at understanding the game. He’s exactly the type of player that should thrive next to Ben Simmons (catching lobs, crashing the offensive glass, cashing in put-backs, and a weak-side defense).
Skills to watch: Zhaire’s athleticism will open your eyes and jaw. He’s quite possibly the most athletic prospect in the draft. The Sixers haven’t had a high riser like Zhaire since KJ McDaniels. Zhaire uses his flashy athleticism through numerous forms of put-backs, weak-side shot blocking and when attacking the rim after moving off screens.
Areas to improve: While Zhaire put up very good efficiency numbers on offense and percentages from three, only 40 three-point attempts taken all year as a freshman and lack of ball handling are the two main red flags. Zhaire shows solid form on his jump shot but a slow release. In recent workout videos during the pre-draft process, Zhaire has shown progress with quickening his release from beyond the arc. If Zhaire is able to make his mid-range and 3-point shot translate to the NBA, his ceiling is truly through the roof. Brett Brown believes in Zhaire’s jump shot, therefore so do I.
Chances to make the Sixers: If he isn’t involved in the potential Kawhi trade (fingers crossed), then you can easily add Zhaire as a core member of our beloved Sixers. 100 percent.

Video of Zhaire working on his ball handling and a quicker release.

Shake Milton, 6’6″, Southern Methodist

(Editor’s note: Since the original publishing of this article, the Sixers have announced that Shake Milton will NOT be participating in Summer League, as he recovers from a stress fracture in his back)
Dating profile: I love watching Mustangs and I love riding Mustangs. That’s what Oklahoma does. I enjoy late nights with outdoor bonfires, a nice smore and reading Sophie Kinsella novels.
Player profile: Shake and Bake was a three-year player for SMU, averaging 18 points per game, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists. Shake comes onto the Sixers as the 54th overall pick from the second round and two-time All-AAC second team. Shake was a four-star recruit out of high school and chose SMU over the likes of Oklahoma, Indiana, Baylor and Creighton. Shake is a solid shooter, featuring a true shooting percentage of 60.6 percent, while shooting 43.4 percent from three on 5.9 attempts per game.
Skills to watch: Other than his first name (how good is it?), Shake’s spot up three-point shooting and nifty tear drop shots in the paint are his main sell. Shake is a solid playmaker with the ball in his hands and has the versatility to be able to play/defend either guard spot on the Summer League team. Shake thrives in transition and in the pick and roll, something that should make him an easy fit on the Sixers.
Areas to improve: Shake doesn’t have top end athleticism and struggles with finishing at the rim. As a combo guard, Shake needs to improve his ability to create on offense in order to stick around at the NBA level.
Chances to make the Sixers: Shake is yet another prospect that thrives in the pick and roll, which should allow him to find a spot at the end of the Sixers bench next season. 90 percent.

SHAKE AND BAKE!

Tra Holder, 6’1″, Arizona State
Dating profile: I’m from LA and I enjoy a little me time. I’m very handsome, I like looking at myself in mirrors in the frozen food section when I go grocery shopping, and I’m pretty much better than you in every, single way. I could talk about myself for hours.
Player profile: Tra is a 23-year-old, four-year player from Arizona State University. He was a three-star recruit out of California. Tra averaged 18.2 points per game and 3.4 assists with a true shooting percentage of 55.4 percent and 36.9 percent from three-point range on 5.8 attempts. Tra is a solid shooter from the charity stripe, averaging 83.6 percent on 5.9 attempts per game. He also had a knack for playing well in big games during his tenure at ASU.
Skills to watch: Tra was asked to do a lot as point guard for Arizona State. He was the primary scorer as well as floor general for an ASU team that struggled in conference play in the PAC-12. Tra’s speed and quickness should help him translate to the up and down pace of Summer League basketball.
Areas to improve: Name: Tra needs to show that his small frame (6’1″) doesn’t limit his impact on the defensive end. Despite his quickness, Tra only averaged 1.5 steals per 40 minutes. While Tra was asked to be more of a primary scorer for ASU than distributor, he will also need to show he can move the ball on offense in order to make it in the NBA.
Chances to make the team: Tra was named first team All PAC-12 in 2018 but didn’t get an invite to the NBA combine. Look for Tra to try and make a name for himself by playing fast and pushing the tempo. Despite this, unfortunately there simply isn’t a spot on the Sixers roster for Tra. 0 percent.

Tra beats Kansas

Forwards

Furkan Korkmaz, 6’7″, Turkey
Dating profile: I love everything about Turkey. Riding bike around Istanbul, Thanksgiving and turkey sandwiches with a nice provolone. I might be 6’7, but I love to snuggle and be the little spoon.
Player profile: Furkan is a rangy guard/forward with a long wingspan and solid athleticism for a wing. Furkan averaged 1.6 points per game in 5.7 minutes for the Sixers. Furkan struggled with a Lisfranc injury for the majority of last season, playing in only 14 games. Furkan showed a true shooting percentage of 38.6 percent, while shooting 29.4 percent from three on 1.2 attempts per game.
Skills to watch: First and foremost, Furkan’s bread and butter is his shooting. That didn’t necessarily translate last year, but there is enough evidence in his career to consider that a blip. Furkan has great touch on his shot and should be a leading scorer on this year’s Sixers Summer League team.
Areas to improve: Furkan continues to need to make strides on his defense, ball handling and ability to score effectively inside the three-point line. Despite his very good athleticism, Furkan struggles creating on offense and finishing around the rim.
Chances to make the Sixers: Furkan is currently demonstrating solid shooting at the FIBA tournament for Turkey, and looks to take over Marco Belinelli’s role from last season. With the team’s emergence in the NBA and aim to get to the Eastern Conference Finals, Furkan needs to make the rotation sooner than later. I expect Furkan to get more opportunities from the end of the bench next year and you can never have enough shooters. 90 percent. Only reason it’s not 100 percent is because he may be included as a throw in with the potential Kawhi trade looming.

Some of Furkan’s highlights from last years Summer League

Isaiah Miles, 6’7″, St. Joes
Dating profile: I am not obsessed with St. Joe’s basketball. I won’t say that St. Joes is better than Temple or Villanova, but Jameer Nelson and Delonte West are the best basketball players ever. And Phil Martelli is the best coach in the city. The hawk will never die.
Player profile: Isaiah played 4 years at St. Joe’s and has played overseas for the past few years. During the 2016-2017 season for the Jeanne d’Arc Dijon Burgundy club, Isaiah averaged 15.1 points and 6 rebounds per 36 minutes on average while shooting 46.8 percent from three on 3.7 attempts per game and shooting 85.9 percent from the free throw line for his club in France. This past year, Isaiah averaged 10.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game for Usak Sportlif.
Skills to watch: Isaiah has great size for a wing and a 6’11″ wingspan. Miles’ best attribute is his shooting from three and at the free throw line.
Areas to improve: Is he a power forward or is he small forward? Miles is a tweener that seems to have a tough time finding his spot in the NBA. Miles doesn’t have the athleticism needed to guard either SF or PF spot, especially in Brett Brown’s game of pace and space. Miles needs to show the Sixers and other NBA front offices that he can be a true stretch four moving forward.
Chances to make the Sixers: Miles is a great story and kid from a local school. However, he just doesn’t seem to fit with the way Brett likes to play. Hopefully Isaiah turns some heads with his three-point shooting during the Summer League and makes a spot on an NBA roster. Rooting for the guy. 0 percent.

I cannot believe this was 3 years ago.

Jonah Bolden, 6’10″, Maccabi Tel Aviv B.C.
Dating profile: I like doing different things, from trying new restaurants to playing basketball all around the world. I enjoy meat pies and Rabbit-Proof fence is the greatest film ever made. Please don’t ask me to put another shrimp on the barbie – or if I’ve met Ben Simmons or Kendell Jenner.
Player profile: Very excited to be writing this as Jonah is one of my most anticipated players to watch during this year’s Summer League. Born in Australia, Jonah was a top prospect in Europe before moving to the US as a senior in high school. Jonah played two seasons for UCLA, became ineligible, and then played a couple of years overseas. This year for Maccabi Tel Aviv, Jonah is averaging 11.7 points per 36 minutes and shooting 31.9% from three on 2.5 attempts per game in 21.1 minutes. Jonah has all the prerequisites (wingspan, athleticism, shot blocking, three-point shooting, attacking the glass, transition offense) to thrive in the NBA as an elite stretch four or small ball five next to Ben Simmons. This past season, Jonah showed he is one of the best defensive players in Europe, averaging 9.3 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocks per 36 minutes.
Skills to watch: Where do I start? Jonah’s ability to protect the rim and shoot from three-point range, in my opinion, make him unique as a stretch four. Jonah showed all of these skills during his stint on the 2017 Sixers Summer League team, and I cannot wait to watch it once again come Friday.
Areas to improve: Free throw shooting. Jonah shot 51.2 percent from the free throw line this past year, which is confusing considering his excellent three-point shot. Jonah has struggled in this area since he was drafted.
Chances to make the Sixers: Jonah enters the Summer League as one of the prized pieces of the Sixers core moving forward. As long as he stays healthy, Jonah is a great fit next to Ben and Joel coming off the bench and backing up Dario Saric as a stretch four or small ball five. 100 percent.

Chris McCullough, 6’11″, Wizards/G-League
Dating profile: Proud to be born and raised from the Bronx. Did you know that the Bronx Zoo is the largest metropolitan zoo in the United States? I like to be active so I can stay in shape, walk the zoo and catch all of the Pokémon. But it’s mostly to catch Pokémon.
Player profile: Chris was a five-star recruit from Florida. He played one season at Syracuse before entering the 2015 NBA Draft and being drafted 29th in the first round by the Brooklyn Nets. Two years ago, Chris was traded with Bojan Bogdanovic to the Wizards for Andrew Nicholson, Marcus Thornton and a 2017 protected first round pick. In 12 games for the Erie BayHawks (Wizard’s G-League), Chris averaged 11.2 points per game, 6.4 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 21.7 minutes. He had a field goal percentage of 40.5, while shooting 26.9 percent from three on 2.2 attempts per game. Chris also shot 80.4 percent from the free throw line on 3.8 attempts per game.
Skills to watch: Athleticism, size and length. Chris has a 7’3″ wingspan and a 9’1″ standing reach at 200 pounds. However, none of this has seemed to translate to the NBA in his short stints in the NBA. Chris thrives in transition, with an ability to put the ball on the floor and finish. Chris shows potential defensively at SF/PF due to that length and athleticism. Chris has made his name in the G-League with some flashy dunks that I totally recommend you checking out on YouTube.
Areas to improve: Shooting. Shooting, And shooting. Similar to Isaiah Miles, McCullough needs to show NBA teams that he’s making progress from the three-point line.
Chances to make the Sixers: I’ll admit. I’m excited to watch Chris McCullough play. If he can be a Jerami Grant-lite, then what’s so bad about that? However, he doesn’t shoot it well enough to even be considered to play next to Ben or Joel. 0 percent.

Recent highlight reel from the G-League

Cam Oliver, 6’8″, G-League
Dating profile: NBA people call me a tweener. It’s just not true. I’ve been 21 years old for a while now. And please don’t ask me if I’m sportscaster Pam Oliver’s son. It’s not funny anymore. I don’t watch golf.
Player profile: Cam was a three-star recruit from Sacramento who played two seasons at Nevada. He was an undrafted free agent and signed with the Houston Rockets in 2017. Cam played for two teams in the G-League this past year, averaging 10.8 points per game, 7.1 rebounds, with a true shooting percentage of 54.1, and 33.7 percent from three on 2.4 attempts per game in 24.1 minutes. Cam signed with the Delaware 87ers in January 2018. He has always been considered a very good, long-term prospect despite having excellent physical tools.
Skills to watch: Cam is a very athletic power forward and rim protector. Cam averaged 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes last season.
Areas to improve: Free throws and defense. Cam shot 55.9 percent from the free throw line on 1.7 attempts per game. Despite being a solid shot blocker, Cam needs to show better instincts and rotations in order to make it in the NBA. Cam tends to show low IQ on the defensive end and is hoping to show progress in this area.
Chances to make the team: Cam Oliver is a very interesting prospect that should get more time with the Delaware 87ers. I like his size, athleticism and shot blocking potential, but he’s just not ready yet. 0%

Cam beating the 87ers

Centers

Norvel Pelle, 6’11″, G-League
Dating profile: Born and raised hunting for shellfish and hanging out in the bay in the Eastern Caribbean. I like to eat my conch raw, sort of like my basketball skills on the offensive end.
Player profile: Norvel is a 6’11″ gazelle who thrives in blocking shots and running the floor. He was a four-star recruit out of Barbados and spent the last two years overseas. In 10 games for Fiat Torino, Norvel averaged 19.4 points, 12 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per 36 minutes.
Skills to watch: The Sixers seem to covet athletic big guys who can run the floor and protect the rim, and this guy might be among the best of them.
Areas to improve: Anything on the offensive end. Norvel brings several qualities to be excited about on defense, but leaves a lot to be desired on offense.
Chances to make the team: Norvel will be out there trying to make a name for himself with the Sixers Summer League team. Norvel has yet to put it all together on the court and is looking to play for a G-League team in 2018. 0 percent.

Highlights of Norvel from this past year

Kaleb Tarcezewski, 7′, Olimpia

Just kidding! Thank God. Trust the process.

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