The 76ers are giving everyone a preview of what the regular season will look like as their summer league team currently has an 0-4 record. Still, though, fans should be on the lookout for key storylines that could affect the final roster.
Philly is competing in the NBA's Orlando Pro Summer League with nine other teams, but happen to be one of only two teams without a win. There isn't much optimism about what is likely to take place once the 2013-14 season gets underway, and Philadelphia's recent summer league performance hasn't done anything to quiet the concerns.
The good news is that the Sixers can still evaluate players as the team loses. Winning might be hard to come by right now, but Philadelphia's staff is still able to evaluate who they have.
It's time for us to do the same. Here are a few of the Sixers' summer league team's key players and storylines.
Michael Carter-Williams Still Has a Long Road Ahead of Him
Carter-Williams has been one of Philadelphia's highlights throughout the summer league. He leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.3 points, and also happens to lead the Orlando Pro Summer League in assists with 7.3 per game.
He is doing nearly everything people expected of him to up to this point.
Of course, that also means he is struggling in certain aspects of basketball. Through four games he has taken 24 more shots than any other player on the Sixers. That wouldn't be bad considering he is the team's highest draft pick on the roster, except for the fact he happens to be shooting 26.1 percent on those shots.
No, 26.1 percent is not a typo.
Concerns about his shooting were widely known heading into these games, but only hitting one in every four shots is worse than originally thought. Shooting 2-15 from the three-point line only adds to the pain.
Another problem Carter-Williams seems to be facing takes place when he is faced with going against undersized point guards. Defensively he is alright, however, the opposition seems to get into his body in a way that makes it hard for him to both dribble and pass when he is on offense. Sure, his assist numbers look great at first, but are they worth it when he is averaging 5.3 turnovers per game to go along with them?
This isn't meant to sound like a bash-on-Carter-Williams section as he has shown signs of positive play. It is just a section to say that he still has quite a way to go with his game before he can be consistent.
Arsalan Kazemi Could Succeed as a Wing
Kazemi came into the league as a power forward. Though undersized, he played the position throughout his entire collegiate career. Switching at the NBA level would be crazy based on these statements, but it could be the trick for him to stick around.
Brett Koremenos from Grantland.com wrote about how he liked Kazemi coming into the draft, and how a position change only makes him better. Here's what he said about potential possibilities:
What’s interesting about the move is that Kazemi’s ceiling as a player has now been raised. As a 4, the Oregon product was always going to be limited in his role because of size limitations. By moving to the wing, Kazemi can perhaps one day be a 35-minute-a-night starter because he will be guarding players within a closer range of his build. The catch is that Kazemi needs to demonstrate he can capably guard NBA-caliber wings while also developing a corner 3. If one or both of those things happen, the wickedly smart Sam Hinkie will have struck second-round gold in his first draft.
It is still too early to say if Kazemi will or won't succeed as a small forward, but Koremenos makes some good points regarding what could happen if it does end up working out. It will be interesting to see his progression as time goes on.
Which Undrafted Prospect Has the Best Chance of Making Philadelphia's Roster?
At this point it looks like the battle is between James Southerland and Khalif Wyatt.
You know exactly what you are going to get with Southerland. He is going to be a knockdown three-point shooter who will occasionally contribute on the glass. There isn't much he'll bring to a team on the defensive side of the floor, but he is pretty reliable when it comes to his offense.
Wyatt, on the other hand, continues to remain a mystery. His lack of athleticism somehow tends to leave everybody on edge. There is an odd sense of patience that comes along with his game. His lack of physical tools actually give him an ability to score the ball at a high level.
In the end, Wyatt's defensive skill could be what gives him the advantage over Southerland. Wyatt is averaging 2.0 steals per game, and even though that number doesn't give the whole story, it still proves how he can come away with the ball on defense.
The beautiful part about the Sixers this season is that the team is not deep. There is a chance of multiple roster spots being available so it's possible for Southerland and Wyatt to both make the team.
Only time will tell.