The Philadelphia 76ers played their first game of the Las Vegas Summer League on Friday, and they started with a win.
The Sixers defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 107-106 at the Thomas and Mack Center. Philly held on to the lead as the Bucks went on a 16-7 run near the end of the fourth quarter. Milwaukee cut the lead to 101-98 with 2:46 left, but it never could overtake Philly in the game’s last minutes.
The Sixers will play their next summer league game against the Boston Celtics on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
With the Sixers grabbing the win, players such as Zhaire Smith, Norvel Pelle and Marial Shayok showed why they’re some of the Sixers’ top young players.
Zhaire Smith was one of the most athletic guards in last year’s NBA draft, and he showed why in the Sixers’ win against the Bucks.
Smith was on the receiving end of multiple alley-oops, jumping high for passes and throwing down jams with ferocity. Smith scored 10 points and shot 62.5% from the field, along with dishing out five assists.
Smith played in six regular season games during his rookie year last season. He suffered a fractured left foot last August, and he also had an allergic reaction to a food product that kept him out for the majority of the season.
What Smith did best against the Bucks was see where he could attack the holes in the Bucks’ defense — and he didn’t just do so by scoring, either.
Smith showed how he could be a solid facilitator on the floor as well, making good reads to set up his teammates in the halfcourt. With Smith being an athletic guard who can defend and facilitate, he could be a quality player off the bench for Philly next season.
Norvel Pelle signed a two-way contract with the Sixers in late June, and he continued to show his potential Friday.
The Sixers connected on plenty of alley-oops off pick-and-rolls, and Pelle showed how he could be a quality rim runner in the Sixers’ offense. Pelle scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and tallied three blocks.
With Pelle being on a two-way contract, he could see some time with the Sixers in the regular season. Last season, he played his third season for the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers’ G League affiliate. He averaged 11.1 points per game, along with 8.3 rebounds and 2.9 blocks.
Pelle’s ability to catch lobs could help him see the floor in Philly, but his ability to protect the rim would only add to his value. On one possession, Pelle blocked a shot to help ignite a fastbreak for the Sixers.
Marial Shayok spent his senior season at Iowa State after playing three with Virginia. That one season with the Cyclones, though, was the best of his college career, as he averaged a career-high 18.7 points a game.
Shayok showed his ability to score against the Bucks, leading the the team with 19 points on 53.8% shooting from the field. He also hit a team-high three 3-pointers, shooting 50% from the three-point line.
The Sixers took Shayok with the 54th overall pick in the second round of this year’s draft. As summer league continues, Shayok has a chance to continue showing his scoring ability, particularly in getting shots off the dribble.