Here are five things I'm looking forward to:
The Villain's debut
This is an obvious one. Who doesn't want to see Evan Turner's Sixers debut? Technically he's only been part of our team for a few weeks, but I've been dreaming of him in a Sixers uniform since that fateful May night, after the draft lottery.
We've all been hearing about how nasty and NBA-ready he is; tonight he'll get a chance to show it. He's set to match up against two very respectable defenders in Terrence Williams and Damion James. Williams quietly put together a great rookie season last year, and he'll provide Turner with a great test on both ends tonight.
This Summer League is going to be big for Marreese Speights. Last SL he refused to defend or rebound and went prima dona on the team. This off-season I've only heard good things about him-- how he's going to lose weight, dedicate himself to defense, etc. -- but tonight we'll see if he walks the walk.
His defense won't be heavily tested tonight -- going against the unpolished Derrick Favors and undrafted free agent Brian Zoubek -- but all other aspects of his game will. It'll be very impressive if he can score efficiently against Favors, and equally impressive if he out-rebounds the Favors-Zoubek combo.
Call me crazy, but I think Speights unleashes the beast tonight.
Jrue and Evan have already been dubbed the backcourt of the next decade. Tonight, it begins. How will they mesh on offense? How will they communicate on defense? Can either be effective without the ball? We'll get a little insight into each of these questions tonight, and it should be a pleasure to watch perimeter players try to score against the Villain and the Jruth.
Style of play
Last year we were all excited about the Princeton Offense, and that was a failure. Tonight I'm interested in what style the Sixers play because it could be an indication of how they'll play during the regular season. Will they get back to defending, rebounding and running? Will their half-court offense continue to be anemic? Will Collins bench Turner in fear of T-Will destroying his psyche?
Emergence of a big man
As it stands, the Sixers have zero big men who make their living crashing the boards and playing defense, so there's a chance one of the big men on the Sixers' SL roster could fill that void. Unfortunately, the biggie Michael Levin dubbed most likely to make the team -- DeVon Hardin -- magically disappeared from the roster. Two players to keep an eye on tonight, and the rest of the SL are Jason Love and Cedric Simmons.
I'm stoked. The thread will be up about an hour before the game, and I'm expected to be able to watch it live. Join me if you're watching or simply want to read my play-by-play.
Full Summer League Schedule
Sixers Roster and Schedule
- Pay $15 to watch all the Summer League games online
- Michael's fantastic breakdown of the roster and the players' chances of making the team
- All games will be available on NBATV