Mike's Summer Sixers Deep Dive
The Opening Tip
Hello & Happy Almost Weekend - It's the Corner Three!
Ricky X Merch... Time Is Running Out
Next week is the special 10 Year Anniversary Ricky Celebration, Ricky X. We'll do a special pod, with a couple of special guests, and have another surprise or two in store. We have two pieces of merch to celebrate.
The Ricky Long Sleeve - Speaks for itself. Pretty sick, our first long-sleeve, on the highest quality Comfort Colors tee.
Limited Edition Print - Abbie did a sick print with 48 different weird Sixers and Ricky references. Only 250 were made and there are less than 100 left.
Oh Yeah, The Sixers
This Fucking Team!
That's it, that's all I got. Trade Harden? Don't trade Harden? Run it Back with a worse bench and Pat Bev? Tune in next week!
This Week's Top 10 (Summer Food)
8. Fruit Salad
7. Any Smoothie
5. Grilled Chicken
4. Grilled Shrimp
3. Hot dogs
1. Grilled Salmon
Mike's Corner... Summer Sixers Deep Dive
Every week Spike or Mike will give you something that's on their mind. It's Mike's week, and he's trying very hard to push James Harden out of his mind with the Summer Sixers.
There’s been so much happening - or pointedly not happening - that I haven’t spent enough time diving into my favorite hobby away from basketball: Summer League Basketball. Two games in, let’s discuss:
Nick Nurse - the person on this SummerSixers squad most likely to get regular rotation minutes is very obviously head coach Nick Nurse. It’s cool that he’s there - for the players it’s an every day audition, and for us it’s a balmy Vegas taste of what he likes to run, albeit without two of the most unbending stars in the game today. The SummerSixers are NOT standing still though, and it’s a joy watching them fly up the floor, overwhelm with speed and athleticism, and pressure/rotate 94 feet of desert hell. They beat Utah with a swarming defense, which works in LVSL with this personnel but I’m anticipating giving up a lot of wide open 3s when the Real Sixers (“they’re real, and they’re disappointing”) can’t actually make the rotations Nick wants them to make.
Jaden Springer - short answer is he’s better at the stuff he was already good at, and he’s pretty much the same at the stuff he needs to get better at. Though the ability to get to the line and display nice touch from there is important, he’s gotta hit 3s off the catch. He took two stepback 3s yesterday (made one!) and I gargled bile. We underrate how difficult it is to change your game, especially at that age. Because Springer must be getting pelted with catch & shoot at all times - I wouldn’t let him use a urinal without an assistant coach next to him urging him to step in confidently and release his pee with good arc. But he’s not doing it yet, and even though I loved some of the running back-esque physicality and a few nifty passes (one off a eurostep past a defender trying to take a charge on Derrick Henry), the offense just won’t play without a jumper off the catch. Which is a shame because the defense is crazy. He’s more of a motherfucker than Matisse ever was - a really good 4th quarter back & forth with legit rotation player Ochai Agbaji (2.5 years older) got feisty and fun, and his motor on turning loose balls into transition opportunities will help a ton. I just need him to shoot off wide open passes from a triple teamed Joel Embiid for the love of god.
Terquavion Smith - Love this guy. Already he’s way more interesting across the board than he was at NC State, where he did improve sizably year 1 to year 2. He’s incredibly thin, which along with his inconsistent jumper will be the obstacles keeping him from real NBA minutes, but he pops. He can create way more than he showed in college, while being exactly as bouncy and bursty on an NBA-ish court. A drive left switch high to his right and finish around the big with touch at the rim was my highlight. And he plays his ass off, including on defense where he is long enough (6’7) to not be helpless if he’s giving that energy. Plus he gives a shit out there and it shows - he missed a rotation onto a big down low and waved to the bench to apologize and acknowledge he knows what he was supposed to do. He’s raw, and he’s gonna tear Delaware into an even smaller state this year, but he should get a Shake-type rookie deal on the real roster next season. Tighten those shooting mechanics with reps and Terq will have me dreaming.
Ricky Council IV - our second namesake is exactly who we thought. Dunks, Dunks, Record Scratch Hesitation At Three Point Line, Dunks. He loves dunks so much he tried to steal a lob to Tubelis. But he knows he can’t shoot off the catch and he’s real in his head about it. Still affects the game in other ways though - he had a nice back cut off a Tubelis high post, he hustled for a wild offensive rebound he got while falling down then earned a hockey assist from it, and he can make up for being a little out of position defensively with ridiculous recovery blocks in a blink. The dunks are the selling point though, and he may be powerful enough at them to earn some run here and there considering his whole game is there as an NBA wing except the jumper. They need to build more baskets at the Sixers practice facility for all the non-shooters who need to put up 2000 of the most simple shots in basketball per day.
Filip Petrusev - I just don’t see it. He finished with a solid +/- because he knows where to be, where to pass, and what to do, and in summer league around other guys doing stuff, that’s enough to impact winning, but he’s not athletic, not that strong, not a real shooter, and not spectacular in any way. Especially with Mo Bamba in the picture, this would be a depressing use of a roster spot.
Azuolas Tubelis - got our first look at the 3rd two-way guy against Utah and he looked out of sorts with all the athleticism around him. Passed well from the high post and isn’t as slow as you’d expect in the open court but again, not one of my guys I’d bank on finding an NBA role.
Javonte Smart - I’m absolutely ready to give Smart a real roster spot on this team. He can do too much on a basketball court to not get a shot at a minimum deal with a team option as Deep Bench Bruce Brown. He needs to stop taking a few difficult shots (which I’ll pass off as Summer Leagueitis) but he can play. He handles a little, drove & kick then relocated and hit a 3 off the catch, and he even had a few quick decision nifty moves in isolation with more touch than you’d expect. The shot is more set-shotty than you’d expect from an athletic wing from LSU, but the Heat and Bucks both gave him a cup of coffee. That’s enough track record for me to guarantee him a spot before somebody else does.
DJ Steward - if Terq didn’t pop so much, he’d excite me. He hit a few really tough floaters on the move, seems to always make something happen, and Bobby Jackson brought him over from the Kings G-League team. After a year at Duke where he played well but flew way under the radar, I’m keeping an eye on him. Too small probably but I’m intrigued.
Greg Brown - one of the least disciplined players i’ve ever seen. Should’ve been a Process Sixer.
Lou King - makes the right play when the ball comes to him but he’s less juicy than you want with the NBA body he has. I want it to work but I don’t think he has it.
Jordan Tucker - I’m monitoring this! He’s a big strong wing, played deep role player stuff at Butler but a few years of euro ball layer he looks way better. Rose up quick for a nice transition 3 and has some straight line skill with the ball in his hands. Would rather him in Tubelis’s 2-way spot.
Peace, Love and Process Call A Friend, Read a Book