OPSL Postgame: Sixers 89 Nets 86
Thursday, July 12th, 4:00PM (EST) at Amway Center, Orlando, FL
by Max Rappaport
Your browser does not support iframes.ORLANDO –– Two days, two nail-biters. But this time, the Sixers came out on top.
One day after being handed a tough 90-89 loss by the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia (1-4) battled back on the Orlando Pro Summer League’s final day, grabbing an 89-86 victory over the Brooklyn Nets (0-5). The Sixers were led by Norristown native, and Temple alum, Khalif Wyatt, who scored 27 points on just nine shots.
“I think I did better as the week went on,” said the 6’4” guard. “I learned a lot, got adjusted to the new system, and learned a lot from [all the coaches].”
The Nets, hit hard by injuries and several departures by players competing in the Las Vegas Summer League (which began Friday), had just six active players in the game. They were led by Mason Plumlee and Chris Wright, who each scored 23.
The Week In Review
Rodney Williams Surprises
In the week between June 27th's NBA Draft and the beginning of Sixers mini-camp on July 4, President and General Manager Sam Hinkie and his staff feverishly worked to assemble a 13-man roster for the Orlando Pro Summer League. There were, of course, the obvious invitees – rookie draft selections Michael Carter-Williams and Arsalan Kazemi, 2012 first-round pick Arnett Moultrie, and April signee Justin Holiday. The nine remaining roster spots went to a combination of undrafted rookies and 2012-13 D-Leaguers. That list was headlined by Temple alums Micheal Eric and Khalif Wyatt, Minnesota standout Trevor Mbakwe, Ohio point guard D.J. Cooper, and Syracuse’s James Southerland. But one overlooked member of the group stood out amongst the crowd.
Rodney Williams was known more for his Flight White-inspired dunks at University of Minnesota than anything else. As a senior, the lengthy 6’7” swingman averaged a decent, yet uninspiring, 10.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. But with his 6’11” wingspan and outrageous 42.5-inch maximum vertical, the Sixers saw enough in Williams to give him a shot in Orlando.
Catching Sixers fans by surprise, the unassuming Minnesota native started each of Philadelphia’s five OPSL games, averaging 8.0 points, but more importantly, showing his utility as a defender. It was clear that Sixers summer league head coach Michael Curry took notice.
“We really tried to make [Rodney] aggressive [throughout the week],” said Curry. “He’s a big-time athlete and sometimes his confidence wavers, but we want him to be in more of an aggressive mode."
MCW Leads OPSL In Assists
The only true point guard on the Sixers’ summer league team for much of the OPSL (D.J. Cooper left mid-week to join Golden State’s summer league team in Las Vegas), rookie first-round pick Michael Carter-Williams knew the onus would be on him to create for his teammates and set the pace on the offensive end. Despite early turnover issues – nine in the team’s OPSL opener on Sunday, Carter-Williams began to gain his bearings.
“I think I’m more comfortable defensively and on the ball [than at the beginning of the week],” he said on Thursday. “I still had some breakdowns, some turnovers – some costly turnovers – today and I missed a couple of free throws, which could have really helped us. So I’ve got a lot to work on, a lot to improve, so I’m just going to keep working.”
The 6’6” Syracuse alum led the OPSL in assists, finishing with 34.
Arnett Moultrie Hits His Stride
For the second straight game, second-year big man Arnett Moultrie showed off the great potential that willed the Sixers to trade a future first-round pick for his rights on draft night last year.
After struggling to make a significant impact earlier in the week – notching a combined 28 points and 16 rebounds through Philly’s first three games, Moultrie had a breakout game Thursday, contributing game-highs in points (23) and rebounds (12) to a losing effort against the Magic.
Friday, he rode the momentum of his big performance.
He finished Friday’s win over the Nets with 10 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes of action.