Report: Wildcats’ Azuolas Tubelis not taken in NBA Draft, signs with 76ers

Jun 22, 2023, 10:06 PM | Updated: 10:25 pm

Azuolas Tubelis, Arizona Wildcats...

Azuolas Tubelis #10 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after scoring against the UCLA Bruins during the second half of the NCAA game at McKale Center on January 21, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Wildcats forward Azuolas Tubelis went unselected in the 2023 NBA Draft but inked a two-way deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, reports The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

There, he joins a team in relative flux with guard James Harden holding a player option, but there could be a pathway to earn minutes on a team led by reigning MVP Joel Embiid.

The power forward group includes Tobias Harris and physical defender P.J. Tucker, with Georges Niang and Jalen McDaniels potentially re-signing.

The Sixers also reportedly signed Arizona State forward Marcus Bagley on an Exhibit 10 deal.

The 6-foot-11 Tubelis spent three years with the Wildcats, averaging 19.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 2022-23.

A two-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection, Tubelis shot 57% overall and 31% on 0.9 three-point attempts per game.

He did most of his damage through a mix of running in transition to score there or establishing early low-post position to set up his soft lefty hook.

Tubelis took 58% of his total shot attempts at the rim because of that and added 10% of his shot attempts on offensive put-backs.

Add it up, and he hit 69% on those rim attempts. Even in a 40-point outburst against Oregon in February, all but one of his 21 shot attempts came in the paint.

Tubelis’ 42% accuracy on two-point jumpers showed a little potential to extend his offensive repertoire, but his hesitancy to shoot from three would likely need an adjustment at the NBA level. While that is a worry, the big man does bring ball-moving ability and especially thrived in a high-low offense playing alongside centers such as current Toronto Raptors big man Christian Koloko in 2021-22 and Wildcats returnee Oumar Ballo this past season.

Tubelis also has question marks on defense, where his efforts and lack of footspeed could raise red flags.

He was projected as a late second-round choice to an undrafted player. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie rated Tubelis as the 65th overall prospect on the big board for the 2023 draft.

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