I just can’t get enough of preseason basketball.
When else are we going to see Emeka Okafor drain a straightaway three-pointer? That was pretty cool. And so was the Demetrius Jackson block to ice the game.
For real though, the Sixers looked pretty good in exhibition game number two last night. They’re off to China now, and we don’t have any access for the next three days, not unless Crossing Broad readers want to pony up the cash to fly me to Shanghai.
Some observations from the Magic win:
He was hunting his shots and didn’t second-guess himself, didn’t really pass up any open looks. He shot 5-12 and 1-4 from three point range, but only two of his looks took place in and around the basket. Most of it was mid and long-range stuff.
Here’s the three-pointer that he did make, complete with Robert Covington throwing his arms up in celebration on the other side of the court:
BANG!!!! FULTZ FOR 3 pic.twitter.com/6RBq94NdSE
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) October 1, 2018
Afterward, Brett Brown said he was most pleased with the fact that Fultz wasn’t over-thinking the game and wasn’t hesitating:
“When we spoke at my media lunch and then after our first game and after practices and again tonight, that is the thing that I’ve been most pleased with. There’s zero hesitance and there hasn’t been for a month. He might not have made all the shots, but he sure didn’t back away from any of them. It’s a statement. I think it’s a real statement. He shot four (three-pointers), if he made one, that’s good. That’s a good mentality.”
I also really liked this little flare screen to free up Markelle on the wing, then a curl off a pair of return screens to give him a 14 footer to sink:
Fultz with another jumper as the Sixers maintain the lead, 64-59. pic.twitter.com/qmnqst1JQ1
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) October 2, 2018
I also liked that elbow-ish jumper he hit on a second quarter pick and roll with Amir Johnson. That’s something you can do with Markelle this year with Ben Simmons as the screener, or Joel off to the wing in more of a dribble hand-off type of look. Fultz also has good defensive length and posted another chase-down block last night.
The free throws looked a little stiff to me, a little more mechanical and unnatural than his pull up and catch-and-shoot shots, but that’s okay.
One step at a time here.
A quiet 21 and 7 on the evening. He shot six threes, did some damage in the paint, traveled once, threw a bad pass for a bad turnover, and went at Mo Bamba down low.
I.E. – a typical Joel game featuring a little bit of everything.
Bamba actually had some interesting quotes post game about playing against Embiid in a ‘real’ game as compared to the summer workouts that they both did together:
On rookies not getting foul calls…I think some of them weren’t fouls. Part of that comes with just experience. Joel was literally teaching me some of this stuff in the summer. He was like listen, ‘This is literally what I’m going to do. You’re going to pick your hand out and I’m going to go like this.’ I didn’t get called on that, I learned my lesson with that. He was just telling me, ‘They’re going to call these certain fouls, and this is what you need to do to sort of combat that.’ I tried, but I’m a rookie. Tough love. I give it about a month of that kind of physical play, I think they’ll realize that it’s legal defense.On how different it is to face Embiid in a game since working out together in LA this summer…There’s no camping out in the paint, you have to really get out and guard guys. Another thing that I did, that I thought I did a pretty good job of was not biting on the shot fake. It just shows that there’s so much room for improvement. A couple of months ago, I was jumping all over the place for that.
Shot one 14-footer that he missed. Nothing else mid-range and no threes.
After the game, he sort of pushed back on the three-pointer thing again, explaining that he’s not going to be a three-point shooter and that he’s not trying to come out firing from deep in these preseason games. I don’t disagree with him on that, but even if he develops a consistent elbow jumper, that makes him that much better of a player and solves the issue of Boston boxing him off at the foul line and daring him to shoot. That killed the Sixers in the playoffs last year, and so far there’s no evidence that Simmons has addressed that part of his game.
Shrug. Am I being unreasonable? I don’t know.
Simmons also needed three stitches above his right eye after a 2nd quarter collision with Aaron Gordon but told reporters after the game he was fine.
Couple of early offensive rebounds but not a great shooting night.
Played power forward when he was paired with Amir Johnson and Joel Embiid. Muscala tried and missed a pair of corner threes and missed another from the high wing, but the space was there to get him deep looks as a stretch four.
He did play some five in the fourth quarter when Jonah Bolden was in the game. That matched him up against Bamba, and it seemed like he was stout enough defensively in limited action against a true five.
6-8 overall and 3-5 from deep last night. He had a really nice night “scoring the basketball.”
And not all of it was just pulling the trigger from 25 feet, he showed some nice patience on a couple of drives where he felt his defender over-pursue and drove to the rim instead.
Furkan is in line for real minutes off the bench if Wilson Chandler and Jerryd Bayless are not healthy to begin the season. For real. Who else is there? The second unit right now is JJ Redick, Muscala, Johnson, T.J. McConnell, then probably Korkmaz and:
I like his shot.
He looked okay defensively, too, fighting through some pick and rolls. He committed one foul trying to slap down at the ball on one of those sequences.
I’d like to see more of Shamet in China.
Got the biggest pop of the night from the crowd.
T.J. didn’t play a ton because Brett Brown said he “knows what he has” in his backup point guard.
The area where media and fans sit behind the south basket is more spacious and features carpet this season, which is a nice upgrade:
Might not seem like a big deal, but if you’ve sat in that area before, or you try to get down near the court to take pictures after a game, it gets so packed in there that it’s almost impossible to move. Now everybody has some breathing room and we’re not shoved in like sardines and bumping into the dunk squad, the drum line, the t-shirt cannon, and everything else that requires this part of the arena as a staging area.