With the NBA Draft in the books, the Sixers look to move onto the next stage of the offseason: summer league basketball. There will be two sessions of summer league play, with the first occurring in Orlando. The Orlando Summer League will last from July 5-11, and the Sixers will be guaranteed four games with a chance at a fifth if they make the championship. The first three games will be televised, and their opponents will be the Magic, Thunder, Rockets, and Nets. Their first game is against the Magic on July 5th at 1 p.m.
The Sixers announced the full roster that they’ll be using for this week-long session of basketball. Here it is:
C Nerlens Noel
This is the headline name of the roster and the one I’ll be most interested to see play. After sitting out all of last year, it’s about time he got on the court and played in a real game on television. Barring another injury, he looks to be locked in as the starting center for next year and one of their most important players for the future. I can’t wait to see what he can become.
PG Casper Ware
Ware played briefly for the Sixers last year as a backup PG to Michael Carter-Williams. In 9 games, he averaged 5.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG, and 1.1 APG. The tiny guard will have a shot at making the team next year, but would be nothing more than a third string PG after the Sixers traded for Pierre Jackson on draft night. Ware has some talent, but is nothing more than a reserve player.
PF Ronald Roberts, Jr.
The Sixers added Roberts to the roster, who is a local product from St. Joe’s University. Last year, he averaged 14.4 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 1.4 APG as a senior. While he doesn’t have an excellent chance of making the actual roster, he will have an opportunity to prove his worth in the 4-5 games in Orlando.
PG Aaron Craft
Craft is one of the biggest names that went undrafted on draft night, but he’ll get a chance to show what he can do with the Sixers. He played all four years in college at Ohio State, averaging 8.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 4.7 RPG. To be honest, those are pretty low stats for a starting PG on a top college team, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does in the NBA, but I’m not too surprised to see him go undrafted.
SG/SF Isaiah Sykes
Sykes played his college ball at UCF, and was well-known for being only the second player in Division I history to record multiple triple doubles in a season. In his senior year, he averaged 17.2 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 3.5 APG. While his FT shooting leaves something to be desired, he’s what they call a “stat sheet stuffer.” I think he could easily work his way onto the Sixers’ main roster.
SG Hollis Thompson
Thompson is another player who actually played for the Sixers last year. In his rookie year, he played 77 games and started many of them, averaging 6.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 0.9 APG. He was rather underwhelming for a guy that started 41 games, and his lowly 9.50 PER shows that. If I were Sam Hinkie, I’d leave him off the main roster.
SG Travis Bader
Bader is scorer and a 3-point ace, which are two things the Sixers severely lack. Bader, who graduated from Oakland University, actually has the record for most 3-pointers in NCAA history. In his senior year, he averaged 20.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, and 1.4 APG. He also averaged an astounding 4.45 treys a game, a stat that blows my mind even as I’m typing it. While that obviously would be hard to keep up in the NBA, the Sixers need a player like this.
SF Jerami Grant
Sixers drafted Grant with the 39th overall pick in the draft this year, and he looks to play a significant amount of minutes next year for them. While he probably won’t start, he would be a great option for someone to come off the bench and provide a variety of help. He averaged 12.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 1.4 APG last year with Syracuse.
PF JaKarr Sampson
Sampson, who played for St. John’s in college, is probably one of the lesser known players on this roster. Last year he averaged 12.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, and 1.2 APG. He doesn’t sound like a top look for them to add to their actual roster, but the fact that they’re giving him a spot on the summer league roster is a positive sign.
PF Talib Zanna
Zanna is another PF that likely won’t make the main roster, but gets a big opportunity here. Born in Nigeria, Zanna played college basketball at Pittsburgh last year. He averaged 13.0 PPG and 8.6 RPG as as senior and is already older than half the Sixers’ roster at 23. What’s funny is I’m not even kidding.
SF/PF Ed Daniel
Daniel is actually not straight out of college and played summer league ball last year with the Hawks. He apparently played last year in Italy during the regular season, but is back over in the U.S. for another shot at the NBA.
PF Jamelle Hagins
Hagins also is not straight out of college after playing in the D-League for 22 games last year, as well as 9 games in France. A Delaware product, he averaged a double double in his last year of college. In the D-League last year, he was less successful and was seen as more of a backup, averaging 5.5 PPG and 4.2 RPG.
SF Melvin Ejim
Ejim graduated from Iowa State this past year and went undrafted, but the Sixers picked him up for the summer league roster. Last year the Canadian averaged 11.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 1.5 APG. Averaging nearly a double double is rare for a SF. Ejim has some real talent, and I think it could translate to a career in the NBA.
PG Pierre Jackson
Jackson fills out the roster, and will likely be one of the guys that makes the main roster as well. He came over in a trade on draft night after the Sixers drafted Russ Smith in the second round. They traded Smith immediately to the Pelicans for Jackson, who the Sixers had actually drafted the year before. Jackson didn’t play at all with the Pelicans last year, but he led the D-League in scoring, averaging 29.1 PPG. He should be one of the leaders for this summer league roster.
There are two things of note with this roster. First, Noel is the only real center on this roster, meaning he should get a ton of minutes. Second, pretty much every guy they got coming out of college graduated before coming to the NBA. Their maturity should provide an advantage to the team. Winning doesn’t really matter in the summer leagues, but I’d love to see what some of these guys can do.