Philadelphia 76ers: 6 Players who Struggled to Stand out in Orlando Scrimmages
The NBA's scrimmage season is officially in the books. Over the last five or so days, the Philadelphia 76ers have participated in three exhibition matchups down in Orlando. Last Friday was the first time the Sixers played an actual game of basketball against another team since before the NBA's suspension, which occurred on March 11.
After participating in three meaningless matchups against Western Conference competitors, the Sixers came out of the scrimmage season with a record of 1-2, with a win over Memphis, and losses against the Thunder and the Mavericks.
Knowing those games won't count for anything, the final score doesn't mean much. It's more about how the players look after having so much time off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that those three scrimmage games are in the past, we can look at which players struggled to stand out in a good way down in Orlando so far.
It's been a tough season for Kyle O'Quinn with the Sixers. After he inked a deal with Philly during the last offseason, it was assumed that O'Quinn would become the third option at center for the Sixers. At this point, though, it's clear that Brett Brown favors the rookie Norvel Pelle over O'Quinn.
But that doesn't mean O'Quinn's role with the Sixers isn't essential. Regardless of what he's shown on the court this season, and down in Orlando so far, O'Quinn is still a crucial member of the 76ers. Not only is he a seasoned leader, but he's also a vocal member on the bench, who brings a positive spirit to the team. It might not be the role O'Quinn envisioned when he joined the Sixers, but he's going to have to live with it now that Pelle has become the team's third option at center.
Neto was going to have the opportunity to battle for the backup point guard position. Unfortunately, he suffered a back injury during the shootaround before the second scrimmage game against the Thunder. The team ended up ruling Neto out against the Thunder and holding him out against the Mavericks as well. Neto ended the scrimmage schedule with a single assist and a blocked shot.
The people's champ had a promising performance during the second half of the final scrimmage game against Dallas as he picked up a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Before that, he didn't show much on the court, however. When the Sixers re-signed Scott during the offseason, they were expecting to bring back a three-point shooter who offers a spark off the bench in that department.
He struggled throughout the entire 2019-2020 season, and a multi-month break hasn't done him any favors right about now, either. Through three games, Scott knocked down just one of his eight attempted threes. It's going to be very tough for Brown to utilize Mike Scott off the bench as his shooting slump continues this year.
The Delaware Blue Coats standout received the opportunity to travel to Orlando with the Sixers, picking up the team's final roster spot. The bar wasn't high for Shayok, who spent most of his time in the G League this year. Therefore, his lack of production late during the scrimmage games really isn't all that big of a deal. Keep an eye out for him next year, though.
The Sixers' starting center is arguably the best player on the team -- when healthy. Injuries are simply a part of Embiid's career, and the Sixers have learned to accept that. However, it's still disappointing when Embiid can't get out onto the floor.
These three games weren't to see if Embiid's still got it. Instead, these three games were to see if he's healthy and in shape. After just 12 minutes of action, Embiid felt soreness in his calf. The Sixers played it and safe and held Embiid out for the final two games leaving the healthy and in-shape boxes unchecked until we have further proof.
The Sixers' third-year guard is easily the team's most improved player since last season. This year, Korkmaz has notched career-highs in all major categories and was knocking down just under 40-percent of his threes. At times, Brett Brown went as far as comparing Korkmaz to the veteran sharpshooter, JJ Redick.
While Korkmaz isn't exactly on Redick's level, Brown did mention he would like the Turkish guard to become more like former 76er, Marco Bellinelli, for this year's playoff run. That comment was made before the scrimmages got started. Therefore, a lot was riding on Korkmaz, heading into the first scrimmage last Friday.
Three games shouldn't dictate whether Korkmaz is a pivotal player to come off the bench for the 76ers or not -- but you have to think Brett Brown is at least a little bit concerned about the third-year veteran. Korkmaz averaged just six points-per-game and shot a lousy 21-percent from deep in three games.
Even after the second scrimmage, Brown acknowledged Korkmaz's struggles. There was room for improvement in the third scrimmage, but Korkmaz didn't leave a great last impression heading into the restart. There's hope he can turn it around, but if Korkmaz fails to turn it around early, we can expect somebody else to pick up the playing time instead.