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Blue Coats watch: Two-way talent taking off early in the season

The Sixers’ two-way trio of Terquavion Smith, Javonte Smart and Ricky Council IV have all stood out.

Long Island Nets v Delaware Blue Coats Photo by Mary Kate Ridgway/NBAE via Getty Images

The Delaware Blue Coats won their most recent game against the Long Island Nets, 119-104, advancing to a solid 4-3 on the season. With the Winter Cup Showcase on the horizon, let’s take a look at which Blue Coats have stood out among the pack early in their season.

Terquavion Smith excelling as super-sixth man

Thus far, the Blue Coats have opted to use two-way player Terquavion Smith as a sixth man, coming off the bench behind Javonte Smart and David Duke Jr. While Smith isn’t starting, he is playing a healthy dose of minutes at 31.1 per contest. His usage also currently ranks fifth in the G league.

Terq has been a flame thrower off the bench in seven games, averaging an impressive 23.1 points, 2.1 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. He’s been putting up these numbers while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from three. Although there’s room for improvement in his overall efficiency, it’s his prowess in perimeter shooting that captures most people’s attention. Notably, Terq is launching more than 10 three-pointers per contest, making his 34.7 percent success rate even more noteworthy.

While Terq undoubtedly possesses the confidence and skill to consistently make three-pointers, there are several key areas that warrant close attention as he hopefully develops into a NBA player.

Smith, listed at only 160 pounds, will need to put on some muscle moving forward to guard NBA talent effectively. Additionally, I’d like to see his assist numbers improve. He likely won’t ever be a featured player within the Sixers’ offense, but we’ve seen first hand that they desperately need guys who can dribble and make reads. That’s Terquavion’s ticket to getting minutes with the Sixers.

It’s been a solid start for the first-year talent out of North Carolina State.

Javonte Smart proving to be a capable playmaker

The Sixers brought Javonte Smart aboard in late October, signing him to a two-way contract after he put together a good Summer League and training camp. Since his arrival, he’s been the lead ball handler with Delaware.

So far, Smart has averaged 21.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 34.5 minutes per game while shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 36.8 from three. These are good numbers at a quick glance, but even better when you dive into them.

As mentioned above, the Sixers need ball handlers and Smart, thus far, has proven he can be one. He’s averaging a G League career-high 5.9 assists while turning over the ball 2.6 times per games. I don’t think he’ll ever be a lead guard, but he’s more than capable of getting where he needs to be on the court and making basic reads — similar to Pat Beverley with the Sixers.

His three-point shooting has also been excellent, as he’s taking 8.1 attempts per game which is more than his G League career average. Factor in his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, and Smart has a lot of the intangibles of a good NBA guard. Keep your eye on him moving forward, as he seems like the most “NBA ready” player on the Blue Coats.

Ricky Council IV leading the way

Smith and Smart have had excellent starts with the Blue Coats, but one can argue that Ricky Council IV has been the best player on their team through seven games.

Thus far, Council has averaged 24.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals and 0.7 blocks in 34.3 minutes per game. He’s shooting the ball extremely well from the field, at 51.2 percent, and even shooting a respectable percentage from three at 33.3 percent on 5.6 attempts per game.

There’s a lot to like if you dig into Council’s film. First off, the athleticism and finishing ability is up there with the best in the G League, as he’s already put together an impressive highlight reel. He uses his 6-foot-6 frame well, and has a quick first step that often leaves defenders in the dust.

At this point, we all know that Council’s NBA future likely hinges on his outside shooting — which thus far, has been quite passable. He’s shooting a healthy number of attempts from range and looks confident shooting. Seven games isn’t a huge sample size, but if he can figure out his outside shot I’d absolutely argue that there’s a NBA talent here. He’s simply good enough or better at literally everything else on the court.

The Delaware Blue Coats will look to move two games above .500 on Saturday, Dec. 2 against the Greensboro Swarm at 6 PM EST. You can tune in on Youtube or watch on Tubi, DETC28/WPSG or WGLS.

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