July 06, 2015
They came, they saw, they conquered.
OK, not really, but the Sixers did technically “win” the summer league in Orlando last season. Moving onto bigger and better things (not really), they’ve elected not to go back. This July, the pit stop the Sixers will make before Vegas is in Salt Lake City at the reboot of the old Rocky Mountain Revue, now uncreatively called the “Utah Jazz Summer League.”
This is a smaller league, and the Sixers’ participation will be all of three games in four days. Here is a look at the projected roster (one of the lesser-known guys might not play) and schedule, followed by five quick questions:
|Player||Height /Position||Previous Team/Country|
| Jahlil Okafor|| 6'11"/C ||Duke|
|Furkan Aldemir || 6'10"/F-C ||Sixers|
| Jerami Grant||6'8"/F||Sixers |
| Jordan McRae|| 6'6"/G ||Sevens |
| J.P. Tokoto||6'6"/G|| North Carolina|
| Richaun Holmes||6'8"/F ||Bowling Green |
| T.J. McConnell||6'3"/G ||Arizona|
|Deonte Burton ||6'1"/G||Germany|
| Sam Thompson||6'7"/F|| Ohio State|
| Corey Hawkins||6'3"/G||UC Davis |
|Derrick Marks ||6'3"/G||Boise State |
|Jordan Railey ||7'0"/C||Washington State |
| Chavaughn Lewis|| 6'5"/G ||Marist |
Tonight: San Antonio, 7 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Boston, 7 p.m. ET
Thursday: Utah, 9 p.m. ET
1. What does Okafor’s defense look like? I’m pretty confident that Jahlil Okafor is going to be a handful in the post because even a team that practiced three days can develop the continuity to dump the ball on the low block and space the floor. My question is how he handles the other side of the floor, the main reason he slipped to the 3rd pick.
2. Furkan the 4? Furkan Aldemir was pretty underwhelming his rookie year, but he did work on his jumper consistently before games. That trend continued at the Sixers’ mini-camp over the weekend. Whether he becomes proficient from midrange or even out beyond the arc, it’s pretty critical for his development. Starting in the frontcourt with Okafor this week should provide him with the chance to try out his jumper in game situations. As an opposing coach, I would constantly help off Aldemir to double Okafor.
3. Can Grant dominate? Jerami Grant proved last year the he belonged in the NBA, both physically and from a skill standpoint. Now with a year under his belt, Grant should (key word there) consistently be one of the best players on the floor, a step ahead of most of the summer leaguers.
4. What does Jordy Mac have in store? I feel like Jordan McRae is still a man of mystery in many ways. Somewhat surprisingly, he tore it up in Vegas last year but then was shipped over to Australia before coming back to the Sevens for a short D-League stint. We know he can score, but will that be enough to warrant a roster spot this fall? His performance in summer league could be very important.
5. How about the second rounders? Richaun Holmes and Jean-Pierre Tokoto will likely get thrown into the fire right away, I imagine. Let’s see what they can do.
Starters for tonight’s game (7 p.m./The Comcast Network) are T.J. McConnell, McRae, Grant, Aldemir, and Okafor.
As exciting as it might be to actually see a competitive team in Sixers uniforms, try to remember this is summer league. Regardless of what the Sixers accomplish or don’t, this is only the first step in the process and mainly a decent distraction from the Phillies for a couple more weeks. There will likely be other questions and answers that should come up from these couple of days. We’ll make sure to follow along and keep you updated all the way through the Las Vegas portion of the trip.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann