Philadelphia 76ers: Marial Shayok could help fill Josh Richardson’s shoes

(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images) /

If Josh Richardson misses extended time with a left hamstring injury, the Philadelphia 76ers should seriously consider calling up Marial Shayock to help fill the void.

Did you happen to catch the Philadelphia 76ers‘ 107-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors?

If not, you didn’t miss much, just the team’s first loss of the season with Matisse Thybulle in the starting lineup, their 15th straight loss to the Raptors on Canadian soil, and Shake Milton‘s first minutes since New Year’s Eve.

See what I mean? A pretty forgettable evening.

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However, one aspect from the game that may persist past a return trip through customs is yet another hamstring injury suffered to starting shooting guard Josh Richardson.

It came four minutes into the outing, where the 6-foot-6 guard pulled up funny after a Ben Simmons layup. The diagnosis? A left hamstring strain – the very same hamstring that cost the promising combo guard six games back in November/December.

While the Sixers were largely able to weather Richardson’s absence thanks to another double-digit scoring effort by certified 76th man Furkan Korkmaz, albeit in a losing effort, it’s hard to imagine where bench points will come from in future outing without Joel Embiid and J Rich.

If the Sixers run a starting five of Ben Simmons, Thybulle, Korkmaz, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford, who becomes the team’s top offensive option coming off the bench? Trey Burke? James Ennis?

That is not a world I want to live in for too long.

But what if I were to tell you that there’s another player on the 76ers’ roster who can fill Korkmaz’s role, at least temporarily, while the walking wounded are on the mend?

There is a player who at least on paper fits that bill, and his name is Marial Shayok.

Shayok, the 54th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft came to our fair city after half a decade of college basketball split between three campaigns at Virginia and a lone year with the Iowa State Cyclones (plus a transfer year). Though initially considered undraftable by some scouts, with SI going so far as to list the Ottawa, Canada native as their 70th ranked prospect going into the draft, Shayok has become the face of the Delaware Blue Coats so far this season, leading the team in points, field goal attempts, and 3 point attempts per game at 22.3, 18.2, and 7.2 respectfully.

Shayok isn’t only dominating in relation to his DBC teammates, but in relation to the G-League as a whole, as the 24-year-old rookie currently ranks third league-wide in points per game and first overall in usage at 33.0.

To overly simplify things to a comical degree, Shayok is playing like the G-League equivalent of Philly native Kobe Bryant – a regular Poutine Mamba if you will.

If things continue on unchanged, Shayok will all but certainly earn a spot in the G-League All-Star game, and may very well end up getting votes for Rookie of the Year and maybe even League MVP with a little more cooking.

And if Richardson is unable to go for a week or two, Shayok is an ideal in-house call up to help fortify the bench for a pro-trade deadline push.

Much like Korkmaz, who is somehow two years younger than Shayok despite having already appeared in 111 games, Shayok can get work done as a combo two/three wing shooter. While he’s not an elite, J.J. Redick-style assassin from beyond the arc, as Shayok is only averaging 37.7 percent from 3 in Delaware and only averaged 38.1 percent over his college career, Super Marial can get a basket from pretty much anywhere on the court as an on-ball lead guard.

Plug and play, Shayok has the potential to step into the scheme he’s thrived in with the Blue Coats and provide an adequate replacement-level performance, but with some creativity, and a little help from Deleware’s head coach Connor Johnson, the Sixers could add a few new wrinkles to their offense we’ve seldom seen in the 215 this century.

Ever since the Golden State Warriors ushered in this new era of 3-centric basketball the NBA scoring guards of old have become fewer and further between. Sure, there are still players like DeMar DeRozan and Donovan Mitchell who get heavy usage as an off-ball scorer who scores a ton of points in the mid-range, but that offensive element has become more of a novelty than a staple.

Could Skayok’s presence allow Brett Brown to incorporate some Donovan Mitchell-esque sets into the team’s at times stagnant half-court offense? Eh, probably not on such short notice, but down the line, anything is possible.

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Make no mistake about it, one-day Marial Shayock is going to have a full-time contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, as he’s simply playing too well in Delaware to not eventually earn an NBA contract, so with Josh Richardson’s status presumably up in the air for a Sunday night romp with the Los Angeles Lakers, why not use a few of the 6-foot-5 guard/forward’s NBA days and give him a run with the big club? One can never have enough shooters coming off the bench.