The Orlando Summer League gets underway this Monday, July 9th. The summer league is one of my favorite times of the year for a few reasons. The first is it takes place about three months into the baseball season, right about the time when baseball loses its interest, especially this year thanks to the Phillies struggles. The second reason is the summer league is the first opportunity for NBA fanatics like me to watch rookies compete in an NBA environment. I also love seeing the longshots, the underdogs and the undrafted rookies step up and earn themselves a roster spot. It happens every year.
Here is the Sixers summer league roster, courtesy of Sixers.com:
The first thing that stands out to me, is they spelled Rosen’s first name wrong. Not a good sign for a guy I actually hope makes the team, but more on that later. You’ll notice Harkless and Vucevic are the only two players on this roster that have a guaranteed spot on the Sixers next season. The two players are on different levels developmentally, but I’m expecting big things from both. While big men aren’t usually featured in the fast-paced, hectic summer league play, Vucevic will be the most talented big on the floor most of the time, and when he does get a chance to showcase his offensive skills, he needs to. As for Harkless, I’d love to see him knock down some outside shots. His shooting was thought to be a weakness coming out of college but according to reports from pre-draft workouts, its improved. I’m interested to see just how much.
Xavier Silas is also expected to make the team. Silas is a good athlete but he can’t shoot and struggled in his very short tenure with the team last year. I would rather cut ties with him and take a chance on one of the players listed below.
The first is Zack Rosen, a local point guard from Penn who I’ve been lucky enough to watch for the last few seasons. Rosen is a true point with good quickness and a 3-point shot with NBA range. Despite playing for Penn, Rosen made a name for himself with strong performances against top 25 programs (27/6/6 against Temple, 22 points against Pitt and 21 points against Villanova). There are questions about his size and ability to play against bigger, more athletic guards, but I believe he has what it takes to be a 9th or 10th man in the NBA. The Sixers are currently without a true backup point guard, so as long as he impresses Doug Collins and the rest of the coaching staff in Orlando, I think there is a chance Rosen makes the team.
Another name to keep an eye on is Terrence Jennings. After going undrafted last year out of Louisville, Jennings spent the last season playing for Liege in Belgium. He averaged just over 8 ppg on 60% from the field, 5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. Jennings is a long shot-blocker, who could help the Sixers because of their need for a rim protector. I didn’t think Jennings was skilled enough to play in the NBA during his time in Louisville, but I think he is an intriguing prospect in the right situation playing for Philadelphia.
Jacob Pullen and Jon Scheyer both had terrific college careers, but went undrafted because they don’t have the complete skillset that translates to the NBA. However, they can both shoot the basketball, and that is one skill the Sixers current backcourt is lacking. While I wouldn’t bet on either one making the team, a reliable outside shooting off the bench would be welcome.
Thats all for now. Let me know who you hope makes the Sixers roster and what you’re most looking forward to next week in Orlando.