Sizing up Sixers after successful stint in Orlando

ASSOCIATED PRESS Casper Ware drives around the Grizzlies' Joe Jackson yesterday during the Sixers' victory in the Orlando Summer League championship game.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Casper Ware drives around the Grizzlies' Joe Jackson yesterday during the Sixers' victory in the Orlando Summer League championship game.
Posted: July 14, 2014

ORLANDO - Who says this rebuild process is going to take a while? The Sixers won a championship yesterday.

The Orlando Summer League came to a conclusion at Amway Center, with the Sixers taking the title game, 91-75, over the Memphis Grizzlies. Two events sort of overshadowed the win: One, Nerlens Noel sat out the game, as the team decided to let him rest before he heads to Las Vegas to play with the Sixers in that summer league. The other was that during the game, news of LeBron James' return to Cleveland came out, sending a ripple through the sparse crowd.

Hollis Thompson scored 21, Casper Ware collected 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds and Ronald Roberts went for 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Sixers finished the week winning four of their five games.

As a whole, it was a successful trip for the Sixers, whose team in Las Vegas will begin play tonight. Here's a look at the participants in Orlando who have the best chance of being on the Sixers' roster this season:

Nerlens Noel: There was a lot to be impressed with in the three games Noel played in Orlando. His athleticism is everything it was billed to be. He has amazingly quick hands for a 6-11 player and he will be a shot-blocking machine. The fact he got to the foul line 19 times is a good sign (although fouls are pretty common in summer league, and his making 15 even better.

He will have to get stronger. Too many times, he was pushed away from where he wanted to be. He isn't a very good stand-still rebounder, but better when he's on the move and avoiding contact. He will benefit greatly from another big-man presence. With Joel Embiid perhaps being out this season recovering from a foot injury, the Sixers might look to bring in a bigger body to pair with him Noel season.

Hollis Thompson: He looked like a veteran player in Orlando, taking charge of the team, playing at a controlled pace. He's bulked up, so we'll have to see whether it has any effect on his shooting. He is the long, athletic type coach Brett Brown loves, so playing time should be plentiful for him this season.

He looked really good going after the ball off the boards in Orlando, another asset that would keep him on the floor. If he can be a consistent outside shooter, he could be around for the rebuild.

Casper Ware: The Sixers were well aware of Ware's game coming into Orlando, as he had a pair of 10-day stints with them during the season. He certainly played very well during the week, leading the team in scoring and having to play major minutes after fellow 5-10 guard Pierre Jackson went down with a ruptured Achilles' tendon in the first game.

He is a 90-foot defender and relentless in guarding the ball. Offensively, he showed he can create for himself, is a good outside shooter and is capable of finding the open man. He was pretty ball-dominant in Orlando because he had to be. His game will have to be more of a distributing one in the NBA, but his speed and quickness fit nicely into the style the Sixers want to play.

K.J. McDaniels: He was really finding his groove when a sprained ankle in the fourth game shut him down. Throughout the week, when people saw him play, the name Andre Iguodala frequently popped up. He appears to have the ability to become a very good defensive player and did show a nice shooting touch from beyond the arc. He has a terrific on-court demeanor, seemingly never rattled. He is another terrific athlete. Combine that with his defense, and he could see major minutes this season.

Jerami Grant: At times, he sort of disappeared on the court, not giving much of anything. He could use a little more bulk on his 6-8 frame if he is going to battle with the bigger players underneath. If he is going to be more of a perimeter guy, then his shot needs some serious work. He is more comfortable battling in the lane, but, at 210 pounds, that will be tough to do in the NBA.

Ronald Roberts: There might have been no one more eye-opening than Roberts in Orlando. His leaping ability is ridiculous, and he has a great nose for the ball. His defense wasn't a strong point coming in, but he was admirable there. The guy is nonstop hustle. He is best at scoring off offensive rebounds and running the floor, an ideal fit for the Sixers. Whether he makes the team is up in the air, but he certainly at least earned an invitation to someone's training camp.


On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: ph.ly/Sixerville

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