A Big Man Who Can Shoot, Shawn Long Intriguing to Sixers

You're forgiven if you haven't heard of Shawn Long.

The Louisiana-Lafayette big man on Monday worked out for the Sixers with a slew of other prospects (see workout notebook).

For those who aren't familiar with Long, he compares his style to that of San Antonio Spurs star LaMarcus Aldridge and a former NBA player who's a Philly native.

"If you want to take it back, Rasheed Wallace," Long said. "He can shoot the ball. He does a little bit of everything. He loves to mix it up. He's a very intense player."

Is Long as intense as the mercurial Wallace or a little more subdued like Aldridge?

"I'll go with LaMarcus on that one," Long said. "Gotta love 'Sheed, though."

Long was dominant during his four years with the Ragin' Cajuns. His tear started in 2013 when the 23 year old won the Sun Belt Freshman of Year award and was a second-team all-conference selection. He went on to be named to the first team the next three seasons and took home the conference's Player of the Year award in 2016.

Long averaged a double-double for during his college career with 17.3 points 10.7 rebounds per game. Also a strong rim protector, Long averaged two blocks a contest.

The skill that may be his most impressive, however, is his shooting touch.

At 6-foot-10, Long has tremendous range. He shot 34 percent from three and 68 percent from the free-throw line. He was able to show that skill off for the Sixers' brass on Monday.

"He's got really good size for, I'd call him a stretch five or stretch four," Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said of Long. "He's got the ability to step out and make a shot.

"The other thing that he does well is he can take you off the dribble. I'm not sure if you saw it today, but he utilized the pump fake pretty well. He's got great size and he can step out and make the shot."

Looking at a team like the Golden State Warriors and what they've been able to do with smaller lineups, a guy like Long becomes valuable to an NBA team. As Eversley pointed out, not only can he shoot, but he also has a decent handle.  

But don't confuse long for Cleveland's Channing Frye or New Orleans' Ryan Anderson, both big men with lethal jumpers. As Long's rebounding and rim protection numbers will tell you, he isn't afraid to play in the post.

"I think that's right on the money," Long said of Eversley's assessment. "I don't mind mixing it up down low as well as stretching it out on the floor."

What was he hoping to show the Sixers?

"That I can shoot the ball. That's gonna be the thing that separates me from a lot of bigs. My ability to shoot the ball as well as rebound and like I said, mix it up down low."

Long is hoping he impressed the Sixers enough to be taken by them like his college teammate, Elfrid Payton. Payton wasn't Sixers' property for very long. The point guard was taken 10th overall by the Sixers in 2014 but subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic for the rights to Dario Saric and future first- and second-round picks.

Long keeps in touch with Payton regularly and considers him a great resource as he prepares to start his NBA career.

"Playing with Elfrid helped me a lot," Long said. "It gave me a feel for what an elite guard is. I talk to Elfrid every other day. He was actually with me when I was training. He was just there giving me some words of advice. Just helping me through the process and I'm grateful for that. I'm lucky to have that."

Long certainly won't be a top-10 pick, but his skill set is intriguing. A big man that can play in the post but isn't afraid to step out and hit a shot is rare. The Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks were all interested in Long's skill set enough to schedule him for a workout.

With that said, Long will likely be taken in the second round or be signed as a priority free agent, given his lack of competition in the Sun Belt conference. For now, the versatile big man is just using these workouts to get some feedback from NBA teams.

"It was all learning," Long said. "Everything coach (Brett Brown) gave us I just tried to soak it up like a sponge. This is a first-time experience for me. Going on I think it's going to be big to just learn."

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