On the bright side, there's at least one team affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers that has a win this season.
It took all of four quarters and three overtimes, but the Delaware 87ers were victorious in their season opener Saturday night, defeating the Canton Charge 109-106.
For stretches, the contest looked every bit like a game between two D-League teams whose rosters were assembled less than two weeks earlier. There were plenty of turnovers (41 in all), and fouls (59 in all), and selfish play was a bit more rampant than usual. With the benefit of only one preseason game prior to Saturday night, it's clear that Sevens' head coach Kevin Young is still trying to figure out which pieces work best together: Every active player on the roster last night logged at least 10 minutes before the end of regulation.
Despite not getting the starting nod against the Charge, reserves D.J. Seeley and Victor Rudd led Delaware in scoring with 20 points each. Seeley played more than any other Sevens guard (38 minutes), and the offense was noticeably better when he was in the game. He's capable of attacking the basket, but his strength appears to be playing off of the ball and spotting up behind the 3-point line (he shot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc against Canton).
Rudd wasn't the most efficient player during his time at South Florida, but an athletic power forward with a high motor can make a name for himself in the D-League. He's not nearly the rebounder that Ronald Roberts is, but Rudd appears to have a larger offensive skill set.
Speaking of Roberts, the former St. Joe's standout seems to be everything we thought that he was. The 6'8" forward was the most active big man on either team last night, and his 17 points and game-high 19 rebounds is a testament to his effort. Roberts struggled a bit whenever he tried to create offense for himself (four turnovers), but when he stuck to what he does best (working the glass, low post defense), he excelled against the Charge.
The lack of a true point guard figures to be an issue for Delaware going forward, but they were able to manage last night without too much difficulty. Malcolm Lee served the primary ballhandler for the Sevens' first unit, and although he had a game-high six assists, calling him a playmaker would be a bit of a stretch. To that point, Lee was subbed out halfway through the fourth quarter, and never returned to the game.
LaQuentin Miles (18 points on 9-for-14 shooting, five assists, seven turnovers) doesn't project to be much of a lead guard either, but he did get the lion's share of the minutes at PG whenever Lee was on the bench.
As a team, Delaware tallied 23 turnovers and was just 17-for-32 from the free-throw line. Conversely, it's somewhat encouraging that the Sevens won the rebounding battle 48-43 without the presence of a true center (Roberts and Rudd shared the duties for most of the night).
The Sevens are off until next Saturday when they kick off a two-game road trip on November 22 against Thanasis Antetokounmpo and the Westchester Knicks.
Random news and notes
- The roster tweeted out by the Sevens last week consisted of just the team's active players - F Tiny Gallon and G Sebastian Koch are, in fact, members of the Sevens, but both were listed as inactive against the Charge.
- Lee, Jamal Jones, Melvin Johnson, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and Roberts all got the start for the Sevens, but only Roberts and Hollis-Jefferson played significant minutes down the stretch.
- Canton forward Chris Crawford led all scorers with 21 points, while guard Stephen Holt added 20 points and six rebounds.
- Saturday was something of a revenge game for Canton's Steve Weingarten: After playing 21 games for the Sevens last season, Delaware traded the 6'9" forward to the Charge in January for G Bo Spencer and F Michael Lee. Last night, Weingarten tallied eight points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.