In the 2019 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers selected Marial Shayok out of Iowa State in the second round with the 54th overall pick. Instead of trading yet another second round pick, they signed Shayok to a two-way contract. Now, he’s leading the G League in points per game and trying to find his way to the big leagues.
At Iowa State, we first saw Shayok tap into some of his potential and display his scoring abilities to the tune of 18.7 ppg, while shooting 49.6% from the floor and 38.6% from three. He was able to grab All-Big 12 honors, All-Big 12 Tournament team honors, and even the Big 12 Tournament MVP.
Fast forward to playing in Delaware for the Sixers G League affiliate, the Blue Coats. Shayok’s offensive talents are on full display and he has the ultimate green light on the team that currently ranks second in the league in scoring. Through the 15 games that he’s played, he boasts a stat line of 24.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 3.1 apg on 46.2% from the field and 37.2% from beyond the arc.
One of the things that Shayok does best is move off the ball. He’s always active and is able to get himself into scoring position very efficiently. On top of that, he has an above-average ability to put the ball on the floor and score off of the dribble. Package that with the seven-foot wingspan and you have one heck of an offensive threat from the shooting guard position.
While his first step isn’t the best and he may not be the most explosive or quickest guard, he knows how to get to his spots. Think of someone like Paul Pierce. Slower movements, but deliberate moves to get to where he wants. He’s able to score from all levels of the floor as he’s an adept finisher at the rim as well.
So, what could be keeping him from getting a call-up to the NBA? Especially when the Sixers could very well use a scorer like Shayok. Well, other than the fact that he’s not the quickest or most explosive, his defensive abilities could use some work. Any kind of quicker or more agile guards are going to give him fits. Also, being a four-year player in college on top of transferring schools makes him an older rookie as he’s turning 25 years old later this year.
Then, on the offensive end, sometimes he will turn a blind eye and turn on the tunnel vision. Drives when the lane is packed, shots with barely any space and a teammate open, the sort of thing that can be frustrating to a more veteran team.
The bottom line, Marial Shayok has the offensive ability to crack an NBA lineup at some point. Some things, like the ones mentioned above, will have to be cleaned up before he gets a serious look, but if the Sixers can’t get any scorers in the trade market or buy-out market, then his chances look even better as the season goes on.