How will JP Tokoto impact the 76ers this year?


Jul 14, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard

J.P. Tokoto

(11) looks to pass the ball during an NBA Summer League game against the Knicks at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

How will JP Tokoto impact the 76ers this year?

The 76ers selected JP Tokoto with the 58th pick in this year’s draft. It was a very smart move by Sam Hinkie and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.

In last year’s draft, Sam Hinkie decided to select K.J. McDaniels who turned into a delight for Philly and the fan-base as he delivered exciting plays that would get you out of your seat night after night. Unfortunately when K.J. was dealt to the Rockets at the trade deadline, the entertainment aspect from a high flying athletic player was lost. But, Sam Hinkie might have found the next coming of such a player.

J.P. Tokoto might not be the starter for this Sixers team at any point this year, and may never be in the future. Still, Tokoto possesses the talent to be a very solid defensive-minded back-up at the two-guard position. Nik Stauskus looks like he might very well be the starting shooting guard this year, but it’s still unknown what kind of impact he will make. There might be a need for Tokoto to play some big minutes off the bench if Stauskus doesn’t pan out in the rotation.

It was immediately apparent, after his Summer League performances, what kind of impact J.P. Tokoto would have on this team. He is a solid defender who won’t provide any flashy statistics on a nightly basis, but will do what he is asked of. He’ll do his job and continue to provide excitement for a team that has been lacking it since the departure of McDaniels.

During Summer League, J.P. Tokoto averaged a meager 5.7 points on 37.5% shooting from the field. Suffice to say, there won’t be much scoring from Tokoto off the bench. But, that isn’t necessarily something that will keep him out of the lineup.

This wasn’t unexpected either. J.P. Tokoto was no dominant scorer at the University of North Carolina (UNC). He was a defensive ace who used his athleticism to his advantage on both sides of the ball. He was a solid finisher around the rim, but didn’t command too much attention offensively. He rarely took over 10 shots per game and did not once score 20+ points in his final season at UNC.

You could compare him to a young Andre Iguodala if you wanted, but that wouldn’t even be right. Tokoto, unlike Iggy, won’t be forced to play a role in the offense that doesn’t suit him. As I’ve repeated over and over again, he’ll play defense and be an exciting leaper who can make the occasional jaw dropping play. That’s it for now. Maybe one day Tokoto can blossom into more of an offensive threat but, for now, that is not what will be asked of him.

If Tokoto continues to prove that he can hold his own defensively and is an impact player at the rim, there should be ample time for him coming off the bench this year for the Sixers.

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