The 76ers started their Summer League action today agains the Orlando Magic. More importantly, Nerlens Noel made his long awaited debut for the 76ers. There were a few bumps in the road, as Pierre Jackson suffered a torn achilles which will probably keep him sidelined for the season.
However, outside of the Jackson injury, there were a lot of positives for the 76ers squad. Mainly, Nerlens Noel who really showed why he was viewed as a consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft before his injury. In just over 26 minutes of game action, Nerlens Noel collected 19 points, two rebounds, three assists, four steals and one block. More importantly, Nerlens hit all seven of his attempts from the free-throw line and shot 6-of-11 overall from the field. He looked energetic and good in most aspects of his game. His jumper from the floor still needs some work, but his free-throw shooting was superb — he didn’t miss a shot from the line. Throughout his NBA career, Noel will be making frequent trips to the line, so it’s important that he consistently knocks down his free throws.
Sixers “veteran” Hollis Thompson had an egregious shooting performance — going 2-of-12 from the floor and 0-for-5 from deep — but helped the game in every other category. Thompson collected 14 rebounds — eight offensive and six defensive rebounds — while throwing five dimes and collecting two steals. Obviously, it would have been nice to see a better shooting performance, but it was great to see Thompson crash the boards like a mangy animal.
Two other players who impressed for Philly were Casper Ware and K.J. McDaniels. Ware turned a 10-day contract with the 76ers last season into a deal for the rest of the season and is back with the team in Orlando for Summer League, while McDaniels was drafted No. 32 overall for Philadelphia. Casper Ware dropped 16 points, shooting 3-of-6 from three. Ware was going back-and-forth with the Magic’s Victor Oladipo and the two made for a good performance when guarding each other. Standing at only 5-foot-10, Ware asserted himself in this game and proved he deserves a real look at a roster spot.
The 76ers first second-round pick, K.J. McDaniels, had a +/- of +15 and dropped nine points on 4-of-8 shooting. McDaniels also swatted two shots — one was a weak side rotation to block Aaron Gordon from behind, which was beautiful to see. McDaniels was knock as a shot blocker in college and that trend seems to be continuing in the NBA.
Ronald Roberts also looked great, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds knocking down 4-of-6 shots. Roberts also had a nasty put back dunk late in the game.
Overall, the 76ers and Nerlens Noel specifically looked really well. Besides the Pierre Jackson injury, things look to be shaping up quite nicely for the 76ers.
Remember, a lot of these guys on the OPSL roster will be fighting for actual roster spots for the 76ers regular season roster, so these guys are taking this seriously. Nerlens Noel proved why the 76ers took a chance on him and after one game, he’s proving it right. Obviously, no one wants to overreact from one game, but Noel looked every bit of what hsould have been a No. 1 pick. Oh yeah, the 76ers wound up losing the game 83-77, but who’s really keeping score in Summer League?
Who most impressed you in the 76ers first summer league game?