Vegas summer league kicked off Saturday evening for the Sixers, and they entered their opening contest without the services of Nerlens Noel, K.J. McDaniels, and Casper Ware. If they had any chance of taking down the Dante Exum led Utah Jazz, somebody relatively unknown would have to provide an infusion of scoring.
For Sean Kilpatrick, the task seemed to be calling his name. He spent four seasons at the University of Cincinnati, and made a name for himself with his scoring prowess his sophomore year. After a disappointing junior campaign Kilpatrick came back strong his senior year, being named a consensus All-American after averaging 20.6 points per game on 42.3% shooting.
But his inconsistencies, coupled with the fact he's 24-years-old, left his name uncalled during draft night; he was the only 2013-14 consensus All-American not selected. Kilpatrick only uses that fact to further motivate himself in Vegas.
"I always play with a chip on my shoulder. But with that chip, it's just going to get better for me. I like to be the sleeper," he said, "Being the sleeper is someone that has the ability to engage in a lot of things. I just gotta continue to keep better. The Sixers have done a really good job of getting me in tune with everything."
He certainly looked in tune on Saturday, scoring 20 points on 7-13 shooting, including 3-5 from beyond the arc, leading Philadelphia to victory. Kilpatrick looked good in off ball, catch-and-shoot situations, and used his large frame to attack the basket strong.
Sixers assistant (and Vegas head coach) Chad Iske sung his praises after their 74-70 victory. "He was impressive all through camp...with the great career in college he had we wanted to see how he could score the ball and shoot the ball in a setting like this, and I think he got off to a great start. We've been really impressed with his feel on the offensive end, and the way he can shoot it."
As the way Philadelphia's roster stands now, they're looking pretty barren when it comes to a pure scoring two guard. When Kilpatrick was weighing his options for summer league, he recognized that was a spot he might be able to fill for the team.
"[My agent] told me the Sixers would be the best fit for me because they're not really loaded at the two guard position, and me being able to come in and least try to compete for that spot and keep getting better, I mean that's something I'm really big on. I just want to keep my nose down in the ground, and just continue to keep working."
When asked if Kilpatrick's performance and Philadelphia's positional void gave him a leg up on a roster spot, Iske was quick to preach consistency. "I think it was a good start for him," he said, "We got a long week ahead of us, and you got to continue to show it. He showed good things in camp and he showed a good start in that first game, but I think we'll look for him to see if he can continue that throughout the week."
If Kilpatrick can continue to score from the outside with regularity, he very well could find a spot on this team come October.