18 G | 13.0 MPG | 8.2 PPG (56.0 FG%) | 36.8 3FG% | 7-19 3FGM | 54.3 FT% | 4.7 RPG
• Signed to a 10-day deal March 6th to serve as frontcourt reinforcement, Long wasted little time in making a sound first impression. He debuted for the Sixers later that evening, and muscled out 13 points and seven rebounds in just 15 minutes versus the Milwaukee Bucks. By the time his contract was set to expire on March 16th, the team inked Long to a multi-year pact. He held down a back-up center role for the remainder of the season.
• Long registered double-digit points in seven of 18 outings with the Sixers. On the flip side, he pulled down five rebounds or more in half the games he played. Also of note, Long’s production with the Sixers was efficient, given the relatively limited run he received on a per game basis (13.0 mpg). Extrapolated out over a per-36 minute rate, Long posted 22.8 points and 13.1 rebounds. Although he didn’t play in as many games as most of his first-year peers, Long finished 11th among rookies in scoring, and sixth in rebounding.
• In addition to Long’s extensive collegiate experience (he was a redshirt freshman at Mississippi State before transferring to Louisiana-Lafayette, where he spent four years), and the fact that the big man rarely showed any signs of back-down, Brett Brown liked that the 24-year old represented – in the truest sense of the phrase – a homegrown success story. Here’s how Long’s journey over the last 10 months went: he visited the Sixers for a pre-draft workout in May, performed well for the team in both the Utah Jazz and Samsung NBA Summer Leagues in July, displayed promise in the pre-season, and produced All-Star caliber numbers (20.2 ppg, 11.2 rpg) with the Delaware 87ers. Constantly staying on the Sixers’ radar, the Louisiana native eventually scrapped his way to the top of the organization’s system, doing so in less than a year’s time.
Having achieved elite status as a Division I college basketball player who amassed over 2,000 career points and 1,000 boards, Long brought his prowess for scoring and rebounding to the pro level. At Chicago March 24th, he poured in a career-high 18 points, to go along with seven caroms. Both statistical areas got a boost via the sequence shown below.
Back in July, it was as eye-opening as it was intriguing to see Long convert 6 of 9 3-point tries in Samsung NBA Summer League action. At the time, the big man expressed confidence in his perimeter abilities, hinting that he knew something about his skill set that most people didn’t. With the Sixers, Long’s 3-point shot was relatively dependable, too, as he went 7 for 19 from deep.
Long’s first and lone double-double with the Sixers came March 26th at Indiana. He manufactured 15 points and 10 rebounds in a career-high 23 minutes, marking the only time at the NBA level this season he played more than 20 minutes in a game. With the Sevens, Long racked up 24 double-doubles.
Statement for the Summer:
“Overall, this year’s been a great rookie season. I had a lot of expectations coming into this season, and I think I accomplished a lot. I think the biggest thing is to continue to build and grow, get stronger, improve my body, and continue to play hard.”