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Sixers sign three players to two-way deals

The Sixers were unable to buy a second-round pick Thursday, but quickly signed three players to two-way contracts.

Arkansas v Kansas Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

It was a quiet night for the Sixers Thursday ... until the 2023 NBA Draft ended.

After unsuccessfully attempting to buy a second-round pick, the team moved quickly in signing Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV, NC State’s Terquavion Smith and Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis to two-way contracts, a team source confirmed. The news was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

A third two-way spot was added under the new CBA and the Sixers quickly took advantage. This also means reigning Slam Dunk Contest champion Mac McClung and Louis King will not be returning on two-way deals.

Prior to the draft, a league source confirmed to Liberty Ballers that the Sixers’ front office was looking to buy a second-round pick and had the go-ahead from ownership to do so. It appears with the structure of the new CBA, teams understand how valuable second-round picks will be going forward. League-wide, not a single second-round pick was sold.

Council, 21, spent the first two years of his collegiate career at Wichita State before transferring to Arkansas last season. He averaged 16.1 points a game and led the Razorbacks to an upset win over No. 1 seed Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Council is a freak athlete known for his highlight reel finishes.

He likely went undrafted because his three-point shooting regressed in each of his college seasons. He hit just 27 percent of his shots from deep last year. He does possess great touch around the rim and hit over 80 percent of his free throws the last two seasons.

Smith is what the kids would call a bucket. High volume scoring and shooting are what he’s all about. In two years at NC State, the 20-year-old averaged 17.1 points a game on a not-so-efficient 38.8 percent from the field. Smith took a lot of threes (eight attempts per game) and hit a decent percentage (35.2) while showing off audacious NBA range.

Smith’s biggest issue is his size at 6-4 and 160 pounds. It hurts his ability to finish and facilitate at the rim. It also poses a problem defensively. As a microwave scorer in the mold of someone like Jordan Clarkson, he’s an intriguing prospect.

Tubelis is the least flashy of the three, but he was the most productive college player. The 21-year-old led the Pac 12 in scoring (19.8) and rebounding (9.1) last season. The native of Lithuania is sort of a combo big — he can play like a traditional five with his back to the basket and finish around the rim, but he’s also skilled with the ability to put the ball on the floor, hit the occasional jumper and even be a playmaker.

His tweener status wouldn’t be as detrimental if he shot the ball better from three. He shot below 30 percent from deep in his three years with the Wildcats. He’s also not a very good rim protector if you use him at the five. Still, it’s an interesting skill package to try to develop.

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