At Summer League, Ben Simmons has shown his potential as a fantastic playmaker as a 6’10” point forward — one with a lot of development left to do, but with a world of potential.
The Sixers just signed Dario Saric, a 6’10” point forward with playmaking skills good enough to be named MVP of the Olympic qualifying tournament where his Croatian team qualified for the Rio games.
How do you fit those two pieces together? Throw in Jahlil Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and Joel Embiid and it gets more complicated. The Sixers have got some nice young pieces (thanks mostly to the pushed aside Sam Hinkie), and Sixers coach Brett Brown told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com that’s a good problem to have.
“I don’t know,” Brown said Friday of where he will play Saric. “You’ve got an abundance of bigs. Ben Simmons and Dario are very similar. We have a few veterans coming in. We’ve got Sergio [Rodriguez] and T.J. [McConnell] as who you’d stamp off on and say that’s a true point guard.
“I say that very much with a tone of excitement than trepidation. How we use him is going to be a challenge but fun, a great challenge. Dario and Ben can play together. They’re two really good players. How this plays out, how it takes shape, I think is a good challenge and one that we’re excited to learn more about.”
This is not the final roster Brown will be tinkering with, Noel and Okafor are still on the trade block, other moves are possible.
It’s going to be interesting to see how all the pieces fit together. Having multiple quality playmakers and passers is a good thing — see Golden State and San Antonio in recent years — so long as there is good shooting surrounding those guys (and from those guys). There is a growing amount of raw talent on the Sixers roster, but it needs a lot of shaping and it’s going to take years.
Brandon Ingram looked pretty good in Summer League. He showed off a smooth skill set — good handles, quality shooting stroke — but clearly needed to get stronger, plus was just trying to figure out how to blend his game into the NBA style.
With D'Angelo Russell sitting out the final Lakers game of Summer League, Ingram seemed to find that groove a little better Friday night.
He dropped 22 and showed an ability to put the ball on the floor and drive, knock down threes, and use his handles to create enough space to get off his shot. It was a positive note the No. 2 pick can build on heading into the rest of summer and training camp in the fall.
Lamar Patterson, the two guard out of Pitt, wasn’t even supposed to make the Hawks roster last season. That he did was a testament to his hard work (he transformed his body), and guys who put in that kind of effort are the kinds coaches and GMs like to take gambles on. Patterson was even part of the Hawks rotation at the start of the season, but that faded fairly quickly, and he bounced between the NBA and the D-League.
This summer, the Hawks decided to waive him.
The Kings picked him up off waivers and are giving him a shot. It’s a low-risk gamble as Patterson is on a minimum contract for less than $1 million.
The upside for Patterson is he can pass the rock. Also, he has defensive potential. But the man has to develop a reliable shot — last season he shot 35 percent overall and 25 percent from three. He had a PER of 5.1. If he can develop his shot like he has other parts of his game he could become a role player down the line. The Kings will see if that can happen.
Jaron Johnson had a rep around the D-League as a high flying dunker.
He averaged 18.2 points per game last season for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League last season — the former Louisiana Tech star can do more than just dunk — and that earned him a showcase chance on the D-League Select team at Summer League in Las Vegas.
But he can still dunk, as he showed the Pelicans on Sunday.
This is great news for the Lakers and young forward Larry Nance Jr.
An MRI Friday on his injured right hand showed only a sprain, no fracture as the Lakers had said was probable.
Nance averaged 5.5 points and 5 rebounds a game for the Lakers last season, showing promise as a rookie forward. At Summer League he averaged 8 points and 7 boards a game, shooting just 44.4 percent.
No physical break means not much time off from training and working on his game this summer, which is a good thing for a young player. Plus, no surgery, which is a great thing.