Hey, they actually held on for once.
The Sixers wrapped up the 2023 Summer League with a win, taking down the New Orleans Pelicans 117-114. DJ Steward was on fire, leading everyone with 36 points on 13-of-20 shooting and and 5-of-10 from beyond the arc.
Javonte Smart had another impressive game as well, putting up 23 points, nine assists and three steals.
With the Vegas session in the books, here are some grades on key players’ performances in this year’s summer league.
Jaden Springer: C-
Maybe this is a bit harsh for Springer, but it’s fair to have high expectations when he’s playing in his third summer league. The 2021 first-round pick earned this grade because his play felt like just more of the same.
His defense continues to look tremendous, as an on-ball defender he is a nightmare to try to get past, but he’s still yet to show significant development where it counts on offense. He’s gotten better at bullying defenders and getting to the free throw line, but his jumper still looks like a shot-put and takes a long time for him to get off. He had plenty of high scoring nights this summer, but none came by dominating the game you’d hope someone that much more experienced than the competition would.
Terquavion Smith: B
Terq was the talk of the team, but he really didn’t even shoot the ball all that well. His 7-of-10 night against the Hawks was his only game in Vegas where he shot over 50 percent from the field, but in Summer League it’s truly the process that matters more than the result.
Smith is just a downright fun player to watch. His blend of athleticism and fundamentals on offense make it really puzzling that no one took a flier on him in the second round. It will be exciting to watch his development in Delaware this year.
Javonte Smart: A
Smart was all over the place this summer. Literally, much of the time, as a lot of the havoc he created came from him picking up ballhandlers at full court. He could not be more of a Nick Nurse type of player. He’s long and athletic, can defend, but can’t really shoot that much.
He was still a big help offensively. His dribble drives created dump offs for bigs and cutters than most guards in Summer League aren’t often looking to do.
Filip Petrusev: Incomplete
Considering the Sixers made 0 draft picks this year, Petrusev coming over to the NBA after two years in the EuroLeague was arguably the biggest storyline for this summer squad. Despite that, Petrusev was invisible when he was on the floor, his starting spot was quickly overtaken by Greg Brown III.
Petrusev didn’t even play the final three games, sitting out with *an injury, making his impact this summer almost nonexistent. Still, the talk from the team is that they expect him to make the roster.
Ricky Council IV: C
It’s a shame his offensive game screams, “I’m not an NBA player,” because Council IV is an exciting player. Like Smart and Springer, he’s just a pesky perimeter defender with a knack for turning the ball over. He ended the summer with quite a highlight reel, attempting one or two rim shattering dunks per game.
Greg Brown III: A
It’s hard for bigs to have a large impact in Summer League, with most guys looking for their own shot, but Brown had a really nice showing. He protected the rim very well, blocking at least two shots a game when he was in the starting lineup. He was also given a lot dump offs and clean-up opportunities to put in 10-12 points a game as well. It will be interesting to see if he gets a two-way from someone after this summer.
DJ Steward: B+
Talk about ending on a high note. Steward really got going once the team got to Vegas, for it was around this time that he started handling the ball more. He looked super comfortable handling the ball, really getting into a rhythm taking shots off the dribble. He probably could have played his way into more opportunities if this summer roster wasn’t so guard heavy to begin with.