It’s time for the Sixers’ rematch against the Hawks. Sort of... The Summer Sixers are back on Thursday as they take on their second game of the NBA’s MGM Resorts Summer League against Atlanta. After the main team collapsed in epic fashion in last season’s playoffs, the young summer squad will have a chance to continue their care-free, entertaining play.
The Sixers got off to a fantastic start in their first Summer League outing, cruising past the Dallas Mavericks with a 95-73 win. Isaiah Joe came out firing. He was calmly hitting threes off movement (including a 4-point play) and finished with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting from three. Rookie Jaden Springer struggled offensively in the first half and only finished the game 4-of-12 from the floor for 11 points, but he was more settled in the second half and played terrific defense all night, being highly active and applying strong pressure on the ball. You can expect Springer to stand out again defensively against the Hawks, but it will be interesting to monitor how comfortable he looks offensively and whether he can start getting in a better rhythm with his jumper.
Tyrese Maxey was the clear-cut star of the show against Dallas. Unsurprisingly, he looked far too good for Summer League and had his way. Maxey recorded 21 points (8-of-15 shooting), 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, and even shot an encouraging 3-of-6 from three-point range with a few triples off the bounce. The main thing to look out for in Maxey’s performance against Atlanta will be whether he maintains similar aggressiveness with his pull-up shooting.
The big positive for Tyrese Maxey in game 1 of Summer League was how confident he was as a pull-up shooter from 3.— Tom West (@TomWestNBA) August 11, 2021
If he can keep developing this (and I'm sure he will, because he's already improved a lot and works like crazy), it'll be huge for him. pic.twitter.com/cVheaG1jXi
Thursday’s game against the Hawks should be another fun watch. Atlanta is coming off an 84-83 win against the Indiana Pacers, with rookies Jalen Johnson and Sharife Cooper leading the way. Johnson tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Cooper dropped 21 points, 9 assists and the game-winning triple at the buzzer. When considering what Cooper has to offer, especially his impressive driving ability and extremely smart, creative passing (even at just 6’1”), he shouldn’t have fallen all the way to the 48th pick in this year’s draft. Johnson and Cooper are definitely the key Hawks to focus on, and Springer and Maxey guarding Cooper will be an exciting matchup.
The only thing missing from the Sixers’ first Summer League game was an appearance from rookie big man Charles Bassey. As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, Bassey’s agent wanted him to sit out for the game. The rookie is yet to sign his contract with the Sixers. When speaking after the draft, Bassey sounded eager to show what he could do in Summer League and specifically mentioned his shooting ability as something that could surprise people. It will be interesting to see how he looks whenever he gets to take to the court.
For now, though, the Summer Sixers should have a great chance to pick up another win against the Hawks. Philly has one of the best Summer League rosters this year, and certainly has a deeper collection of talent (including players with more NBA experience) at their disposal.
Paul Reed said after the Sixers’ first game on Monday that his No. 1 goal in Summer League is to win the championship and that he doesn’t think anybody should beat them. Maybe he’ll be right.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
When: 9:00 pm ET, August 12th, 2021
Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, NV
Watch: ESPN 2