Following what was an eventual weekend for the Sixers in free agency, The team began Summer League play in Utah, as they lost to the Boston Celtics 89-88, and it was pretty much what you would expect in a Summer league game. Low scoring, turnovers, basic offensive sets being run poorly, and of course the chance to see incoming rookies and 2nd-year players. Of course, fans made plans centered around watching Markelle Fultz, the first overall pick in this past draft, the 36th pick, Jonah Bolden and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarott. We'll look back at the last four days, as the excitement around the team continues to build up heading into the 2017-18 season.
Sharpshooter JJ Redick agreed to a 1-year $23 million dollar deal with the team on Saturday
Since the Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs, Redick was linked to the Brooklyn Nets and The Sixers as possible destinations, and on the right type of contract, Redick would be the perfect fit for a team that now has three young franchise players on the roster. Fans got their wish on Saturday after Adrian Wojnarnowski dropped an ESPN-Woj Bomb, that the Sixers and Redick agreed to a 1-year deal worth $23 Million dollars. The length of the deal came as a surprise to some, Zach Lowe reported on Friday that the Sixers were only looking to hand out 1 year deals this summer in order to have Maximum salary cap flexibility for 2018, and he rightfully questioned if the 33-year-old Redick would take that type of deal at this stage in his career.
Redick on a 1-year deal is not only good for the team, but the signing also fills a shooting void this team desperately needed. Over the last 3 season, Redick shot 44.6% from three on 5.8 attempts per game, that's the type of shooter the Sixers have not had in a very long time, Redick is the kind of player that really should be taking seven or eight 3 point attempts per game in today's NBA. He could be set for a career year with more opportunities on a young team.
Redick ranked 3rd among guards in total catch and shoot possessions with 369 -- per synergy, along with an average of 1.2 points per 100 possessions off catch and shoot opportunities. Redick also ran off screens 31.8% of the time and with his gravity, the Sixers will be able to get creative more with offensive sets than in years past.
While he is obviously limited in 1 on 1 defense, he knows how to take proper angles, and is a very smart team defender. With the signing, the Sixers also filled the need of adding a veteran NBA player, who has a well-known work ethic that will set an example for the younger players, especially the younger Guards/Wings on the team.
Amir Johnson signed a 1-year $11 million dollar deal
Amir Johnson was also signed on Saturday on a 1-year deal, and it's another signing to fill the void of veteran players on the roster. Johnson by all reports is a great teammate, a hard worker, and will be another player to help grow and mature the younger guys. Johnson has been a solid starter for the last 5 years in Toronto and Boston, and while he has lost his lift at this point because of his ankles, he still plays hard and brings physicality to the court. He will most likely come off the bench as a 20 minute per game player but he can start either at Center or Power Forward in a pinch whenever bigs sit out for rest or God forbid, suffer an injury.
The Sixers headed into free agency with a cool $50 million dollars in cap space after waiving Gerald Henderson on Friday. With the Redick and Johnson signings the team now has $15 million dollars in cap space left, if they can get the ball rolling and try to extend Robert Covington, then it will be an extremely successful off-season. This team is going to be really fun to watch.
Sixers lose to the Boston Celtics 89-88 in the teams Summer League debut
It's usually tough to take anything away from the first game of Summer League but you can pull some things from rookies playing against talent level that's a step higher then what they are used to.
Markelle Fultz didn't shoot the ball well as he went 6-17 from the field but he definitely showcased some of the talents that made him the top prospect in the draft. The coaching staff seemed oddly determined to play Fultz off the ball a lot, which yes, it will help him down the line, but you would've liked to see him play more point guard and run some pick and roll. Seeing Larry Drew the Second have the ball in his hands most of the time is not my idea of utilizing the team.
One player Sixer fans should keep an eye out for is Jonah Bolden, the 35th pick from this past draft. Bolden is 6'10, athletic, with a 7'3 wing-span, and plays with energy, which is usually the base ingredients to be a productive rotation big at the very least in today's NBA. Bolden's has an interesting story, leaving UCLA to play in Adriatic league where he was named as the top prospect in that league by season's end, an honor that was previously handed out to Dario Saric, and Nikola Jokic, those two are pretty good NBA players.
Bolden displayed light feet on defense and ran the floor with purpose in his Summer League debut, racking up 4 blocks, including a nice chase-down block in transition, moving on defense and battling down low with the bigger Ante Zizic, another former Adriatic league player. Bolden went 4-10 from the field and 1-4 from three, but he has that kind of range and displayed it at the Adriatic League to the tune of 42% from three on 4.2 attempts, which makes for a very interesting prospect.
He will most likely stay over seas this upcoming season but he could be a rotation big in the Sixers lineup right now, thanks to his effort, athleticism, length, and shooting potential, Sixer fans should be excited to track his development.
Next game will be against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.