Maodo Lo hasn’t shown out yet during Summer League play, but he is somebody worth considering given his overarching fit with the team.
The Philadelphia 76ers are still looking at their summer league roster and considering potential fits for this upcoming season. With a rotation that is far from set around their current core and uncertainty in regards to the future that is still highly prominent outside of Ben Simmons, there’s a legitimate chance for a number of the Summer Sixers on the roster to earn a deal.
Maodo Lo is somebody Bryan Colangelo and company should have at the forefront of their consideration process.
While Lo hasn’t been overly productive in the limited playing time he has received during Summer League thus far, his skill set is almost ideally suited to what the Sixers need on the perimeter at the moment. He’s a skilled shooter and a fluid athlete who displays excellent energy on both sides of the ball, while displaying the character traits and willpower on the floor that has characterized Philadelphia’s gritty style of play over the past few seasons.
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The main reason for Lo’s lack of exposure during the pre-draft process was the fact that he spent four years at an Ivy League, not facing much premier compeition during his four year stay with Columbia. He’s not an athletic freak, and doesn’t have any outright impressive moments that made him stand out from his more prominently placed counterparts.
With that said, he did show a few flashes when the team did play upper echelon competition, showing legitimate aptitude against an a stacked Kentucky team during his junior campaign and gaining extensive praise from teammates in pre-draft workouts.
“He’s real smart. He makes pretty crisp decisions and he shoots the ball really well.” -Taurean Prince, former Baylor Bears standout and 12th overall pick (via CSNPhilly)
Lo’s intelligence and shooting prowess are what have made him such an intriguing prospect from an NBA standpoint. He has an extremely quick release off the bounce and when spotting up, often finding his spots on the floor with ease. He doesn’t need much space to get his shot off, and has range that extends well beyond the NBA range. With Nik Stauskas likely on the roster bubble and failing to make an impact at the NBA level up to this point, replacing him with an intelligent basketball player with the shooting touch Lo possesses makes sense.
Many have stressed the need for Lo to transition to the point guard spot to succeed at the next level, but his comboguard status fits ideally with what the Sixers currently need. He’s a capable passer when needed, but wouldn’t be forced into doing too much with the basketball alongside Ben Simmons and Sergio Rodriguez. He’s a viable shooter who could work off of Philadelphia’s playmakers, while still retaining the ability to put the ball on the floor and operate as needed.
With that said, Lo seems to understand he may have to adjust to truly excel at the next level.
“But the NBA, as a point guard, you have the ball in your hands a lot, so that’s the next step I have to make, get back to being comfortable with the ball in my hands more and making plays off pick and rolls. Obviously it’s a very effective offense that helped us win games” (via CSNPhilly)
Standing at 6-3, without an incredibly strong frame, Lo’s largest concern could be finding a solid defensive position at the next level. He has put in plenty of effort on that side of the ball during his playing time so far in Las Vegas and was always a willing defender during his collegiate career, but doesn’t necessarily match up ideally with NBA athletes.
He’s not strong enough to contain some of the stronger two-guards yet, and could be out-finessed by some of the more agile point guards early on. He has room to fill out his frame, however, and shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance considering how hard he works on both sides of the ball.
Lo, from an offensive standpoint alone, makes a compelling case from the Sixers’ perspective. His shooting prowess is something that could not only help fill the spot of Stauskas if they do decide to move on from the former lottery pick, but helps them add another piece who meshes ideally into the mold of a Ben Simmons accompaniment.
He’s a smart basketball player who has often been praised for his intellectual approach and willingness to execute at the highest level possible. He’s not going to come in and cause any problems in the locker room or give the Sixers any major weaknesses on the court. He’ll be able to learn Brett Brown’s system and operate within it to whatever extent is needed.
It’s tough to overlook somebody with the attitude and and skill set Lo has in combination, especially with the financial flexibility of signing an underrated free agent. Whether as somebody the coaching staff wants to develop with the 87ers down in the D-League or grab on an unguaranteed contract heading into the season, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be given a shot at professional basketball.