The story of the week was supposed to be rookies Arnett Moultrie and Maurice Harkless. But it was announced prior to the start of OPSL action that Moultrie wouldn’t see the floor because of a sprained ankle he suffered in pre-draft workouts and early in day two Harkless suffered a strained hip-flexor, sidelining him for the remainder of the week.
The Sixers were also without big man Nikola Vucevic for the week. As we all know, “Big Nik” performed well early in the season last year, but saw a decline in his minutes and his confidence as the season went on. So we were hoping that Nik would have a solid week and build some positive momentum for the 2012-13 season. Instead Vuc suffered a strained left Achilles in the first practice of the week and never saw the floor in O-town.
After the jump I wrap up the rest of the Sixers week in Orlando…
On Day 1 the Sixers took on the Indiana Pacers, and things got off to a slow start. But as the game progressed Jacob Pullen and Justin Holiday emerged as leaders for the young 76ers summer league squad.
Pullen looked explosive running the point, getting into the lane and opening up shots for wings like Holiday. Pullen also put together a nice shooting performance from the perimeter, shooting 3-6 from beyond the arc, and finished with 15 points in the losing effort.
It was Pullen once again in Day 2, dropping a team high 23 against the Utah Jazz. Holiday added 16 points and seven rebounds in another impressive performance by Jrue’s older brother.
The Sixers however could not match Alec Burks and his 31 point performance for the Jazz, falling 84-80.
John Scheyer, Xavier Silas and Clay Tucker all struggled early in the week, and needed a strong finish if they hoped to make an NBA roster. In Game 1 Tucker shot 2-12 and failed to see the floor against the Jazz. Silas was a combined 7-22 through the first two games and the shooter Scheyer failed to get into any type of offensive rhythm.
The injury bug once again got the Sixers, with Pullen injuring his foot/ankle some point in game 2, sidelining him against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
The story of the day however was the addition of former Temple big man and fan favorite Lavoy Allen, who made his two-year six-million dollar deal official just hours before suiting up in Orlando.
Allen struggled to get any baskets to fall, but filled the stat sheet nicely with six points, six rebounds and four assists.
With Pullen on the bench it was Holiday’s turn to take over control. The 6’6’’ wing out of Washington wasn’t hesitant to pull the trigger, hitting 4-4 from beyond the arc and finishing with a team high 18 points and six rebounds in the Sixers first win of the week, 79-71 over the Nets.
Hump day gave us a chance to finally see former Penn standout Zack Rosen hit the floor. Rosen was impressive and gave the 7-6 a much needed spark. Rosen finished with six points and six assists.
Thursday gave summer league fans a double overtime thriller that ended in a 77-75 loss to the Orlando Magic. Tucker finally got things going for the Sixers, finishing with a team high 15 points on 6-11 shooting. Chris Johnson put together a nice performance for Sixers as well, finishing with 11 rebounds.
It was Devin Searcy though who shined the most in the losing effort. The 6’10’’ former Dayton Flyer started the game 5-5 shooting, and along with a +22 plus-minus on Wednesday, put together a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday.
Five Guys We’d Like to See invited to 76ers Training Camp:
The 6’1 guard was by far the most impressive Sixer early in the week. Fifteen and 23 point performances early in the week were scarred by an ankle injury that slowed the former Kansas State standout.
In 32 games for Angelico Biella in Italy last year Pullen averaged 16 points and shot 34 percent from beyond the arc. With Lou Williams headed to Atlanta Pullen could fit nicely on the 76ers bench. As a quick guard who can get into the lane and as a nice outside shooter he kills two birds with one stone.
The older brother of 76ers star Jrue Holiday was a late addition the summer league roster, but a great one at that. The lanky wing has played extremely well on both sides of the ball and despite his skinny stature has a real knack for grabbing rebounds.
In 12 games for Generali Okapi Aalstar (Belgium) during the 2012 EuroChallenge Holiday averaged 7.8 points and shot 44 percent from outside. For the Sixers this week he averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds while shooting 38.2% percent from the field and 40% on 3pAs.
Coach Aaron McKie feels that it’s Holiday’s defense however that separates him from the pack, praising his ability to rotate, understand defensive schemes and most of all his ability to be vocal out on the floor. McKie also said he believes that Holiday is “absolutely” an NBA player.
Searcy was quiet early in the week, pulling down six rebounds on day one, and seven on day two. But as the week turned, Searcy started to shine. On Wednesday he didn’t fill the stat sheet but his presence could be seen out on the floor. He disrupted defensively and finished the day with an impressive +22 plus-minus. Thursday however was his breakout performance, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds in the Sixers double overtime loss. Searcy added a second double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, possibly solidifying his spot on the roster.
In 2011-2012 Searcy spent 45 games with the Toyama Grouses in Japan. The 6’10’’ power forward averaged 13.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game and All-Japanese BJ League Honorable Mention.
While many people are hoping or expecting to see John Scheyer, Xavier Silas, Zack Rosen, Terrence Jennings or Solomon Jones I was hardly impressed by any of them. The Silas injury raises questions and Jones is a good bet to make the team as well, playing very strong at the end with a lot of experience on his resume. But while Chris Johnson didn’t fill up the stat sheet, he jumped off the court to me.
Johnson is a long 6’5’’ with 6’9’’ wingspan and has incredible athleticism. He crashes the boards hard and does a good job getting rebounds coming in off the wing. The former Dayton Flyer has no fear and no memory when it comes to shooting the ball, especially from deep.
He may not have been one of the guys to wow you in the summer league, but there is just something about him that screams potential. Johnson almost found a team on draft day, and in my opinion would be a great addition to the Sixers training camp roster.
The former Temple Owl and Philadelphia native has spent the 2012 Orland Pro Summer League with the Boston Celtics, and I would be surprised if he doesn’t join them in training camp, but if the opportunity arises I would love to see him back in a 76ers uniform later this off-season.
Christmas played for the 76ers summer league team in 2009, was signed, but then waived a month later thanks to an issue police found under Mo Speights’ car seat. He spent time in Israel, the Czech Republic and Greece as well as a few other NBA summer league teams.
Christmas put together a nice 10 point 10 rebound game on Monday against a big Oklahoma City Thunder team and a 10 point eight rebound game against the Detroit Pistons and ninth overall pick Andre Drummond. The Temple product topped it all off with a 21 point, four assist and five rebound performance in the final day of action.
He may not fill an absolute need and one can always bring up past character issues and what not, but the talent is absolutely there. He has a nice amount of experience under his belt and it’s always nice to give a local guy a shot.