In Game 1 of the Utah Jazz Summer League, rookie Jahlil Okafor scored 20 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and a blocked a pair of shots, so it came as no surprise that all of Philadunkia nation was watching closely to see what Jahlil would do last night against the Celtics in Game 2 of Summer Sixers action. Okafor played solidly last night (13 & 9), but it was Turkish legend Furkan Aldemir that pushed the Summer Sixers to a 76-62 victory over the C’s.
Aldemir, who showed limited abilities in 41 games with the 76ers in 2014-15, scored 11 points (all in the 4th Q and thanks to 3 of 5 shooting from deep), snagged 14 boards and blocked 3 shots. In short, Aldemir was impressive and stole the show from Jahlil.
After the jump, observations from Game 2 of the Utah Jazz Summer League.
Furkan Was Impressive: I realize we are talking about summer league action here, so I am not going to get too excited about Aldemir’s play last night, but I did like what I saw from the Turkish forward. In limited minutes during his rookie season of 2014-15, Aldemir looked utterly clueless and completely over matched. Last night he displayed a skill set I did not know he owned — a very nice shooting stroke — 4 of 8 from the field (3-5 from three) as well as the outstanding rebounding ability that propelled him to the Association. The 76ers front court situation is very crowded right now. So even if Aldemir continues his solid play I’m not sure he will see much time in 2015-16, but it was nice to see some development in his game.
Okafor Watch: Jahlil gave his performance a C+ last night and commented that, “I thought I was better than I was yesterday, working on certain things that coaches were asking of me… rolling hard, spacing the floor, working better with [Furkan Aldemir], and building some chemistry.” After hauling 30 minutes on Monday night, I thought Okafor looked a tired at times (you rarely, if ever play on back-to-back nights in college). Still, I am very impressed at how polished his low post game is for a 19-year old kid.
The Sixers Have Length for Days: We all know that Hinkie loves tall, skilled players with long wingspans and he has pulled together a nice group of players that fit that mold for the Summr Sixers. Okafor; Grant; Aldemir; McRae and Tokoto all come to mind right away. However the lanky Summer Sixer that impressed me the most last night was Richaun Holmes. The 6’10 Bowling Green product owns a 7’1 wingspan and last night he used that Pterodactyl-ish reach to grab 8 rebounds and seemingly every loose ball. Holmes helped the Summer Sixers to a +20 rebounding edge last night. I also thought he displayed a very nice shooting touch, so I was a little shocked to see his final stats — 5-12 from the field and 1-6 from deep. Holmes is a kid to keep an eye on this summer.
McRae-ade: I have been accused of drinking the Jordan McRae Gatorade by the other scribes at Philadunkia and after what I saw the last two nights, I’m ordering another round. I admit that McRae has not shot the ball very well — 1 for 6 from three last night — but I believe that is just a temporary cold streak. What McRae showed at Tennessee, in Australia’s NBL and yet again last night is that he can flat out score the ball. The kid owns a scorer’s mentality and that enables him to be effective in the half-court or on the break. When his jumper starts clicking, I expect several huge nights from McRae. The lefty lay-in he executed on the break during the 4th Q last night was a thing of beauty.
TJ McConnell — Mehhh: I know that TJ was a +11 last night and +13 in Game 1, but I don’t understand how this 6-1 point guard who lacks lateral quickness is going to compete for a roster spot on the 2015-16 76ers. Yes, he owns a very solid skill set for a point man (His passing was excellent at Zona.) and overall was a very nice college player, but so far I have not found any one area of his game impressive at the next level. When you combine his lack of size and quickness with a shooting stroke that appears to need significant development, I don’t see Hinkie keeping him on the Sixers roster.
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