nba draft

Sixers to pick up three undrafted rookies on two-way contracts

The Sixers made several post-draft additions.

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The draft itself was thoroughly uneventful for the Sixers.

They added four undrafted rookies in the wee hours of Friday morning, though.

Ricky Council IV, Terquavion Smith and Azuolas Tubelis agreed to two-way contracts with the Sixers, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. Marcus Bagley also agreed to an Exhibit 10 deal. 

The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported Council’s contract. PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck first reported the deals for Smith, Tubelis and Bagley. 

The NBA’s new CBA includes an increase from two to three two-way slots per team, which are generally used on developmental players set to spend significant time in the G League. The Sixers finished last season with Mac McClung and Louis King as their two-ways. Paul Reed and Shake Milton are somewhat recent two-way successes for the Sixers. Both spent much of their rookie year with the Delaware Blue Coats, who won the G League championship last season.

ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony had Smith and Council as the top two undrafted prospects. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie ranked Council 43rd on his big board and Smith 53rd. 

It’s not hard to see why Council and Smith would be appealing two-way candidates. Each possesses eye-catching athleticism and a variety of scoring tools. Smith played two seasons at NC State and averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds as a sophomore. Though Smith’s college three-point percentage of 35.2 isn't sparkling, he’s got obvious shooting talent. Smith put up plenty of jumpers (9.9 threes per 40 minutes), released them smoothly and quickly, and showcased deep range. 

Smith’s lack of size is a glaring reason for concern. At the NBA draft combine, he measured at 6-foot-2.5 without shoes and 163.2 pounds, the lightest of any player to weigh in.

Meanwhile, Council is a 6-foot-5, 208-pound guard capable of both creating and finishing through contact. His burst and power as a driver stand out. 

Though Council made 79.4 percent of his free throws last season at Arkansas, he only shot 27.0 percent from three-point range. In his draft guide, Vecenie highlighted several issues with Council’s jumper, among them stiff form and an inconsistent release point. He wrote, “The big question here is simply shooting. Council needs to prove that he can make shots at an effective level to play in the NBA. There are some other concerns, but the rest of his game works well enough if he can shoot. Shooting for Council is one of the bigger swing skills in this draft class.”

Tubelis is a lefty Lithuanian big man who posted 19.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game for Arizona his junior year. He's compared himself to Domantas Sabonis and Isaiah Hartenstein, per the Arizona Daily Star’s Bruce Pascoe.

To make a career in the NBA, Tubelis will need to prove he’s adequate defensively. He is certainly not agile for an NBA power forward and doesn’t appear promising as a rim-protecting center. Presumably, the Sixers will hope that Tubelis is able to sharpen his defensive game a bit through G League reps. 

Bagley had a rocky tenure at Arizona State and ultimately played just 17 games over three seasons. The 6-foot-8 forward’s saga at the school included him tweeting in November that he hadn’t been playing because he “made a mistake and said some things to Coach (Bobby) Hurley that I shouldn’t have said.” 

Bagley is a younger brother of the Pistons' Marvin Bagley III. 

His Exhibit 10 contract is a one-year, minimum salary deal. Exhibit 10s allow a team to offer players a bonus to eventually join its G League club.

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