Nerlens Noel has been impressive in the Orlando Summer League, particularly on the defensive end. Credit: Getty Images
For a young team developing a plethora of young players, the summer leagues are huge.
The Philadelphia 76ers are a perfect example.
At the Orlando Pro Summer League, many of the Sixers are auditioning for a potential roster spot when the regular season begins.
There are other players, such as highly-touted Nerlens Noel, who are just beginning to learn the NBA game.
The next stop in the summer league tour will be in Las Vegas.
Let’s analyze five Sixers with a thumbs up, thumbs down or incomplete through the stint in Orlando:
It’s been a long year for the former Kentucky standout as he rehabbed a torn ACL. The Sixers acquired Noel in a draft night trade last year from New Orleans partially in part for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. As expected, Noel was a bit rusty. But he also showed signs of explosiveness and true ability around the basket. Noel even hit seven straight free throws in one game. Sixers coach Brett Brown worked vigorously with Noel all last season on his game, which included a rebuild of his shot. If Noel can even hit 70 percent from the free throw line, he’ll be dangerous. Noel will need time to get into basketball shape and this has been a superb start. (Thumbs up)
A second-round pick from Syracuse, Grant has tremendous athleticism. He can run the court and rebound on both ends. Grant played as if he was trying to fit in – not a bad idea. When he’s aggressive, he’s very talented. Look for Grant to continue to get better as the summer moves forward. (Thumbs up)
Jackson appeared to rupture his Achilles in the opening game against the Orlando Magic. He had seven points and seven minutes and proved he could be a capable scorer in the NBA. Now, he’s likely lost for the season. Jackson was a star in the D League and could return down the road to help the Sixers. (Incomplete)
McDaniels, a second-round pick from Clemson, displayed a wide variety of skills on both ends of the court. He brought energy and effort consistently each time out. Known more as a defensive player, McDaniels performed admirably on offense with 22 points in his first two games and he definitely has major potential. (Thumbs up)
Ronald Roberts, Jr.
There’s usually a local player who impresses the Sixers. In the past, it was Temple’s Khalif Wyatt and Villanova’s Maalik Wayns. Roberts, a fomer standout at Saint Joseph’s, has good size and strength around the basket. He could be a nice role player down the road if he continues to develop. (Incomplete)