Inside the Sixers: Summer league gave glimpse into Sixers' future

First-round pick Michael Carter-Williams averaged 7.3 assists during the Orlando Summer League, but he has work to do running a team as a point guard in the NBA. AP
First-round pick Michael Carter-Williams averaged 7.3 assists during the Orlando Summer League, but he has work to do running a team as a point guard in the NBA. AP
Posted: July 15, 2013

ORLANDO - The Orlando Pro Summer League has come and gone, and we won't be watching the 76ers again until the preseason begins.

Summer leagues are basically glorified pickup games. But the games do give you a good look at the new draft picks. They enable you to see what some of the veterans have learned, and introduce you to undrafted rookies trying to make NBA rosters.

The NBA preseason is slated to begin Oct. 4.

So here are some things we learned about the 76ers:

Michael Carter-Williams still has a lot of work to do running a team as a primary point guard.

Khalif Wyatt can shoot the ball. We knew that.

Wyatt can add value to a team as a ball handler and distributor. We didn't know that.

But perhaps the biggest thing we learned is that the Sixers, even without a head coach in place, are serious about developing young talent.

For the Sixers, being in Florida was more than just about having to play in five games.

"It was a 10-day journey," assistant coach Michael Curry, who ran the team, said Friday. "The only time we didn't have two-a-days was this morning. And we gave them this morning off. So they worked really hard. We are pleased with that."

The hard work didn't translate into impressive victories, as the team finished 1-4. The lone victory came Friday afternoon against a Brooklyn Nets squad that dressed only six players.

But this unofficial boot camp wasn't set up for the Sixers to contend for the league championship.

"We told them, 'Every day you are being evaluated,' " Curry said. " 'Every day we are watching how you approach each workout.' . . . A big part of it is trying to see who fits into the culture.

"And in the beginning, it's about trying to establish a culture with the young guys even before the veterans start to come in."

For Carter-Williams, the summer league was a reality check. The 6-foot-6 point guard out of Syracuse looked unstoppable taking defenders off the dribble to his right. He led the summer league with an average of 7.3 assists, and his 13.6-point average was second on the team.

But Carter-Williams struggled while going to his left, shot only 27.1 percent (23 for 85), and averaged a team-worst 4.8 turnovers per game.

"I need to work on a lot of things, getting my body right," he said. "Getting my conditioning and strength, and just shooting the ball consistently."

Meanwhile, Wyatt impressed the Sixers with his scoring and ballhandling.

The former Temple standout averaged a team-best 13.8 points per game, or an analytic-friendly one point per 1.4 minutes. To put that in perspective, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, the second overall pick, averaged one point per 1.7 minutes.

But the Sixers were more impressed with Wyatt's ballhandling, passing, and leadership. After initially looking out of place, Wyatt was effective running the offense.

The Sixers were also impressed with undrafted swingman Rodney Williams' defense.

"Khalif and Rodney both and Justin [Holiday], they all had their moments where they played well," Curry said. "So we were happy with those guys. Micheal Eric played well.

"We will see who will be around to be a part of possibly coming to training camp, and work to get ready for that."


Contact Keith Pompey at kpompey@phillynews.com Follow on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers

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