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Not a Fairy Tale Ending: Summer Sixers Lose to Grizzlies, 82-73

The ‘Cinderella’ Sixers’ Run Ends.

NBA: Summer League-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers Vegas Summer League squad had become a Cinderella over the weekend. After eluding the win column for three games, the 30th seed pulled off two surprising upsets and were in the quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Summer League’s tournament portion. Unfortunately, the clock struck midnight, figuratively and literally (why was this game so late?).

The game didn’t start out too pretty. The Memphis Grizzlies summer league squad, led by Jaren Jackson Jr and Jevon Carter, could not miss. Meanwhile, it took a while for Philadelphia to find their stroke. For the whole night, they were chasing Memphis with deficits as large as 20 points. A run in the 2nd quarter and once more in the third brought the deficit to as close as five. Unfortunately, the Summer Sixers could not continue their magical run and fell despite a final push in the last few minutes.

On one hand, it’s unfortunate that this will the last of competitive 76ers-esque basketball for a few months. On the other hand, let’s be real, Summer League isn’t aesthetically pleasing to watch most of the time. A smorgasbord of rookies and young players fighting to make the league aren’t going to become a well-oiled machine with a week or two of practice. Regardless, all good things come to an end and the 2018 Philadelphia 76ers Summer League has reached the finish line as well.

Odds & Ends

  • Furkan Korkmaz led the way scoring with 18 points (4-9 from 3). The shooting stroke and floater game was on display. After two down games post scintillating debut, Korkmaz showed out a bit in the 3 games of tournament play. He was “the guy” when Philly needed a basket. Hopefully, his summer league performance is just a preview of what he can provide for the big club.
  • Zhaire Smith had another up-and-down performance. He could not find his shooting stroke once again, missed a few shots in the paint, and was relying on his athleticism a little too much. On the flip side, his vision/passing was nice, if not a surprise, to see. The IQ is there, it’s getting the mechanics and feel to catch up with it all. At least the defense seems like it will translate from Day 1 (that’s not to say he’ll be “shutdown” right off the bat).
  • I’ll be honest. I’m not as high as some folks are on Jonah Bolden. The hype around him made it even harder to give him a chance. While the skill package is all there, I wasn’t as impressed with his performance during this Summer League.
  • As far as potential ‘two-way’ guys are concerned, neither Isaiah Miles or Cameron Oliver made too much of an impact tonight. Demetrius Jackson didn’t really separate himself much from Askia Booker, and vice versa. We’ll see how the two-way contracts are utilized but I can’t say with any confidence that anyone truly stood out over the full course of Summer League
  • Jaren Jackson Jr is going to be very good. Due to the lead, he saw less than 20 minutes on the court but, boy, did he put on a good display of why he was drafted so high. Three point shooting? He went 2-4. Rim protection? 4 Blocks on the night. While the Grit-and-Grind era has been running on fumes for a few years, Memphis has a really promising player to turn the page with and build around.

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