By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)
Chicago 83, Philadelphia 70 – Box Score
The story heading into Sunday’s summer league game against Chicago was how the Sixers staff had talked with Ben Simmons about being more aggressive and taking more shots offensively. True to their word, it was certainly a point of emphasis throughout the game with Simmons coming out firing early and taking a summer-high 13 shots from the field. The rookie canned 7 of those attempts for a team-high 18 points, knocking down a few mid-range jumpers in the process. Simmons was especially impressive during a stretch in the fourth quarter where he scored on four straight possessions.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) July 11, 2016
However, maybe he was in his own head about the whole situation, or maybe it was just the result of his first professional back-to-back, but the rest of Simmons game suffered. The former LSU forward recorded only 3 rebounds and 2 assists, finishing with a team-worst -11 plus/minus, easily his worst numbers of the summer in those areas. Still, it’s good for the Sixers to have the rookie work on these different parts of his game, even if he has to compartmentalize a bit. The eventual goal is for him to put everything together in one game-changing package when it matters.
Other Game Notes:
Jerami Grant had what one would term a good Jerami Grant game, recording 3 blocks and going 2-2 from behind the arc, both corner threes. Those corner threes are the “will they, won’t they” question of Grant’s career, with Bryan Colangelo mentioning in an in-game interview that if he can continue to knock those down, he could see some time at small forward. We have a couple years of evidence that Grant isn’t going to hit those shots consistently, but stranger things have happened.
Richaun Holmes had what was probably his worst game of the summer, tallying only 2 points and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes. He struggled with Brazilian big man Cristiano Feliciano, who went 8-8 from the field to lead Chicago with 17 points; Feliciano also grabbed 10 rebounds in his 27 minutes of action, including 4 on the offensive glass. Hopefully, Holmes’ lack of energy in containing Feliciano was mostly a result of his first back-to-back of the summer.
Christian Wood bounced back from a poor opener in Vegas, dropping 13 points and corralling 6 rebounds. He did look to suffer a minor knee strain in the 4th quarter, immediately coming out of the game. There was no indication post-game that it was anything too serious though. I would expect to see him back on the court Tuesday.
For Chicago, lottery pick Denzel Valentine was steady with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. If you’re the Bulls, it’s the type of effort you would hope to see from a guy who played all 4 years of college. With the arrival of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in free agency, there’s definitely a theme of going with older players in Chi-town this season.
The Sixers will be back in action against the Warriors on Tuesday, still searching for their first win in Vegas.