Sixers: Standouts, Slumps From Utah Summer League


As the Sixers start the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas Saturday, let’s take a step back and reflect on some of the standouts of the Utah Summer League, along with those who did not impress. The Sixers finished 1-2 in Utah and saw some promising young players start to show their talent.

Players like T.J. McConnell and Deonte Burton played solidly and didn’t hurt/help their chances of finding a role too much; however, there are some whose play might impact whether or not they will have a role with Philadelphia.

Let’s start with the slumps of the Utah Jazz Summer League.

J.P. Tokoto 

The second-round pick brought intrigue to Sixers fans with his high energy and incredible leaping ability and he certainly showed a few glimpses of both, unfortunately not enough to cover his poor play in other areas. Tokoto was never known for his shooting and we saw why. His uneasiness on the outside made him one dimensional and an easy guard for opponents in the three games.

His low field goal percentage (33 percent) shows he struggled to find easy looks and often had trouble finishing around the rim. He also struggled moving the ball, averaging less than one assist per game and making questionable passes. Tokoto looked to be forcing the game onto him, instead of just playing ball.

This was a disappointing three games for him but it wasn’t a complete failure. Tokoto still made the highlight reel on a couple occasions with his play above the rim, but you have to wonder if that will be enough to get him on an NBA court this season.

Jordan McRae

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McRae, besides Jahlil Okafor, was the most polarized player on the Sixers’ Utah roster. Fans were excited to see a repeat of McRae’s stellar summer league performance in 2014; however, that idea wouldn’t come to fruition in Utah. McRae finished fourth in the league in scoring (15.7 points per game), however did so while shooting a terrible 31 percent from the field.

McRae at times would launch ill-advised three-pointers in situations where he could’ve have moved the ball for a better look, which brought criticism from Sixers nation. McRae averaged one assist per game and went in with a pure shooting mentality.

McRae did his worst impression of former Sixers gunslinger Lou Williams and his game has to improve if he wants to spend the winter in Philly.

Let’s get to the standouts.

Jahlil Okafor

What more can we say about Okafor that has not already been said? Okafor did not disappoint in Utah, showing off his incredible low post moves and awesome rebounding ability. Okafor averaged 14 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while shooting 44.2 percent.

Okafor did, however, struggle from the free throw line (30.8 percent) and taking care of the ball (4.7 turnovers per game) but Sixers fans shouldn’t have any doubt that Okafor will become at the least a solid NBA center. Okafor’s offensive performance has been something to marvel at already, and with another weekend of basketball ahead of him, be prepared for even more praise.

Jerami Grant

Grant has been stellar so far this offseason. He continued to show his awesome posterizing skills with some high-flying dunks and played solidly all around.

Grant averaged 11.7 points and four rebounds per game and shot 48 percent. In these three games he showed incredible hustle and his knack for big plays in transition. Grant did struggle from outside with a 3-point percentage of 20 percent.

Grant is showing glimpses of starting small forward percentage and is just a consistent 3-point shot away from becoming one of the building blocks of this team.

Hakeem Olaju….I mean Furkan Aldemir

You can’t hate Furkan Aldemir. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up in heart. This was the most important series of games for Furkan up to this point in his career and he did splendidly. With more talented big men finding their ways onto the Sixers’ roster, Aldemir had to do something to differentiate himself from the others so HE STARTED SHOOTING THREES.

Furk shot 43 percent from 3-point land and although that probably won’t hold up in the regular season, how can you not love watching it? He also continued to show fans his incredible rebounding skills, topping the league with 13.3 rebounds per game. Although his offensive game is still far from good, it’s encouraging to see him start to develop the weak point in his game.

Honarable mention: Richaun Holmes

The Sixers have a lot to look forward to and hopefully we see some more standouts in the Las Vegas Summer League, starting Saturday at 8:30 p.m. EST against the Lakers.

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