Which Non-Okafor Move Will Benefit 2016 Sixers?

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Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard

Pierre Jackson

(55) congratulates teammates after a time out is called during an NBA Summer League game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Thomas & Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Wilbekin & Pierre Jackson

This duo features just two of the faces competing for the title of starting point guard this season. The competition is heavy, but either of them do have some sort of shot at the open position, despite the likes of Tony Wroten who could be pursuing the spot as well.

Wroten — coming off of an injury — may get the start later in the year, but at the moment it looks like his recovery will inhibit him from being a starter. Wroten was one of my favorites, but I see the good in this. His injury opens the door for some younger guys like this to get a shot at showing what they’ve got in the NBA.

Each of these guys also have their ‘road to redemption’ story that they bring with them this year.

Scottie Wilbekin went undrafted in 2014, something that was unexpected to him. Even more disappointing, his Summer League opportunities didn’t land him a spot on an NBA squad.

Wilbekin still embraced his opportunities given to him, however, and landed a spot with a team overseas, playing for Australia’s Cairns Taipans. He averaged over 15 points per game and over 4 assists with the Cairns Taipans, proving his worth to NBA teams who had an eye on him.

He came back to the NBA, trying his luck in Summer League once again, playing for both the Orlando Magic and the Sixers. Initially, it looked like Wilbekin was on his way back to Australia after signing with the Taipans, but he then opted out after Philadelphia offered him a contract. This deal was for four years.

I have high hopes for Wilbekin, but I’m still skeptical. I don’t see him winning the starting spot this year, but by the looks of it, it’s anyone’s spot. If he impresses at training camp, it could be his.

On the other hand, we have Pierre Jackson, who has his own story to share. His is arguably much more of a “sob story” than Wilbekin’s.

Setback after setback pushed Pappy Jack’s debut as a Sixer after he was initially chosen 42nd overall in 2013. Talking about an underdog, Jackson faces setbacks starting at his physical measurements. Standing at just 5’10, he’s just about average human height, which of course means that he is below average in the NBA.

But don’t let his height fool you.

And just one more to prove to you that he’s got hops.

After being selected 42nd overall, his draft rights were traded to the New Orleans Pelicans. After many tries at overseas basketball, and some Summer League and D-League appearances, he found his way back to the Sixers in June last year.

Finally looking to get his shot, he joined the team in Summer League to prove his worth. Unfortunately, at a Summer League game, he ruptured his achilles tendon, putting him out for a while. He was signed by the Sixers despite the injury, but then later waived.

This July, he had yet another Summer League shot with the Sixers, and now has a contract. For the first time in his career, it looks like he’s got a real shot at being a legitimate role player on an NBA team. I believe he is one of the front runners to win the starting point guard spot.

His 12 points per game during Summer League this season proved to us he has worth. I believe there’s reason to be skeptical of him, since he’s yet to play in an NBA game, but he’s obviously got a skill set.

In this game, Jackson scored 15 points, and proved he had some range. He did this while playing D’Angelo Russell, a player who was supposed to be a Sixer this year. That plan was foiled by the Los Angeles Lakers, who picked him up before the Sixers had a chance.

Possibly, Jackson used this as fuel in this game to show he was worth just as much as Russell. He outdid Russell as far as point production, who scored just 14 points in this game.

Jackson is one of the most underrated guards in this point guard competition that will come into full swing during training camp. Still, he’s arguably one of the fan’s favorites, and I expect him to be a leading name in the discussion as they look to name a starter.

These pick ups were good, but I don’t believe they were the best non-Okafor pickups, largely due to the fact that we haven’t seen them in real NBA games yet.

Next: Nik Stauskas