NBA summer league: Marial Shayok a player worth watching, impressive effort from Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle, more from Sixers' win over Raptors


The Sixers are finished with competitive basketball for a while. 

The team wrapped up their summer league slate Friday with a 108-102 win over the Toronto Raptors in a consolation game at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, ending with a 2-3 record.

Here are observations from the win: 

• Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle both continued to make eye-catching plays. Smith sniffed out a dribble handoff and plucked away a steal early in the first quarter, while Thybulle swished his first jumper, a spot-up three from the left corner. 

Though Thybulle did commit several classic “rookie mistakes” Friday, including catching the ball out of bounds and fouling a jump shooter on an overeager closeout, the tools are there for Smith and Thybulle to be members of the Sixers’ regular rotation. 

Thybulle had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists Friday and Smith posted nine points and three steals. Both shot 3 for 6 from the floor. 

The intensity level in a summer league consolation game is going to be less than in a regular season contest — it’s only natural. That said, you have to like that Smith and Thybulle clearly took pride in competing. Smith was still leaping in the air to contend for offensive rebounds late in the third quarter, treating a July afternoon in Las Vegas like something approximating a meaningful game. The two love to play and are going to push for opportunities when the games count.

• For the second straight game, Shake Milton was sidelined by an ankle injury. Milton’s first summer league campaign was disappointing. He played in three games before sustaining his injury and shot 6 for 36.

The Sixers won’t be too deterred by Milton’s shooting struggles — the four-year deal they gave him indicates as much. They would have loved for him to average 30-plus points per game and make a strong, early case for backup point guard minutes, but it’s unlikely the summer league was ever going to have a large impact on Milton’s future with the team. 

• Two-way player Marial Shayok is going to be a player worth following this season.

The rookie played point guard for a stretch during the second quarter Friday, at one point snaking around a screen from Christ Koumadje, blocking off his man with his body and knocking down a mid-range jumper.

Following a timeout, the 23-year-old then stroked a three-pointer from the left wing before strolling down the court for an easy dunk off a steal. 

The 6-foot-6 Shayok had 14 points on 6 for 11 shooting Friday.

He seems best suited for the wing at the NBA level, but the freedom to play different positions and have the ball in his hands should help Shayok when he’s with the Delaware Blue Coats and head coach Connor Johnson. In all likelihood, that same flexibility to expand his game and experiment with new skills wouldn’t have existed for Shayok if the Sixers placed him on the regular active roster immediately. 

• PJ Dozier and Haywood Highsmith each shot the ball well after struggling with their jumpers during the Sixers’ first four games of summer league. 

Highsmith had 16 points on 6 for 11 shooting. Dozier hit 8 of 14 shots for 22 points, showcasing his fluid scoring abilities. He also tallied seven assists. 

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