The Summer Sixers got off to an impressive start in the Las Vegas Summer League.
Led by Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers crushed the Mavericks, 95-73, in their first game at the MGM Resorts Summer League Monday.
Here are four observations from the win.
Maxey and Joe dominate
In what should come as no surprise, the best player on the floor was Maxey. The second-year guard, who carved out a role for himself last season, picked up where he left off. Maxey had a game-high 21 points — 19 in the first half — while showing off all the things that make him an exciting prospect.
Maxey displayed the entirety of his game — drawing contact at the rim, playing strong defense, making 3s (3 of 6), and, of course, his patented floater. In the second half, the Mavericks were actually doubling Maxey … in a Summer League game.
If Maxey continues to shoot consistently from distance, look out.
“At the end of the day whenever you’re a small guard, if you can hit the three it’s going to open a lot of things up for you,” Sixers assistant and Summer League head coach Brian Adams said postgame. “For him, the No. 1 priority is running the team and being the point guard out there — but also his ability to space the floor with the three, whether it’s on a spot-up or just aggressive, 1-on-1, or in pick-and-roll. That’s definitely an area we’re trying to get him, especially if people go under in the pick-and-roll. We want to make people pay and have people have to go over going forward.”
Maxey reiterated that running the offense was a directive given to him by Doc Rivers.
“I think one of my biggest goals,” Maxey said, “Coach Doc told me before I left is to watch the film and work on running the team — being able to run a team; being able to get guys in the right spots; finding out where guys like the ball. I think that’s one thing I really took to heart. And then another thing I wanted to work on is just shooting the ball off the dribble, making the right passes — just because I work extremely hard on shooting. I wanted to be able to show that I’m able to shoot the ball.”
Second-year wing Isaiah Joe joined Maxey in an impressive offensive onslaught. The 3-and-D prospect showed off the “3” part in a big way. Joe went 4 of 6 from deep and recorded 15 first-half points. Joe’s first three may have been his most impressive on a pretty step-back from the wing. He went scoreless in the second half.
Maxey will have a chance to play a significant role for the Sixers this season. The road to minutes is tougher for Joe, but he has the makings of a rotational NBA player.
The third member of the Sixers’ 2020 draft class was a little quiet offensively. Paul Reed, the G League’s Rookie of the Year and MVP, didn’t do much to stand out Monday in the first half. He seemed to find his way in the second half, finishing 4 of 8 for nine points.
Two-way player Rayjon Tucker was active as usual, adding 12 points.
It was an uneven debut for first-round pick Jaden Springer. While the shot wasn’t falling early, you saw glimpses of the traits the Sixers saw to make him their first pick.
At 18 years old, Springer already has an NBA body and has strong defensive instincts. As the game went along, you saw Springer play freer. He made a few nice drives to the basket, made a couple nice passes after drawing an extra defender and drained a corner 3 on a fast break.
Springer finished with 11 points on 4 of 12 from the field. He did have four turnovers, at times maybe trying to do too much.
“I would say probably a little jitters,” Springer said about his first-half struggles. “I was thinking a lot out there. But as the game went on, I got used to it. I got the first one out of the way, so I’m feeling good.”
Defense for the Summer Sixers
While Dallas didn’t have much offensive firepower outside of second-year guard Tyrell Terry, the Sixers’ defense stood out.
Whether it was Maxey in the passing lanes, Joe taking charges or Springer’s strong on-ball defense, it felt like everyone was involved. Rookie second-round pick Filip Petrusev made his presence felt on that end, coming up with three blocks. Reed also had four blocks and added three steals.
The Mavericks scored just 14 points in the first quarter and never looked fluid on the offensive end. They shot just 40.8 percent for the game.
There was one noticeable absence for the Sixers Monday: Second-round pick Charles Bassey. The Western Kentucky product was held out of the game by his agent, per The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.
Bassey has yet to sign his NBA rookie contract.
Frank Mason III (right groin strain) also missed Monday’s game.