Sergio Rodriguez has accomplished a lot since last playing in an NBA regular-season game on April 14, 2010.
A member of Real Madrid of the Liga ACB, Rodriguez was named the 2014 EuroLeague MVP. He also led his team to the 2015 EuroLeague title and the ACB championship in three of the last four seasons. The Spaniard also was an all-ACB selection in each of the last three campaigns
But after six years in Spain, and six years away from the NBA, the 30-year-old decided this summer it was time to come back.
"This time, with my age, I felt I needed to get another opportunity here in the NBA," said Rodriguez, who signed a one-year, $8 million deal with the 76ers on July 13.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pounder's first opportunity to showcase his skills in the Sixers' starting lineup came Saturday night. He finished with three points on 1-for-5 shooting to go with seven assists, one rebound, one steal, and three turnovers in the 97-76 exhibition loss to Detroit at Wells Fargo Center.
Meanwhile, Joel Embiid had a so-so night.
The 7-foot-2, 276-pounder finished with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting and had five rebounds in 19 minutes, 36 seconds. Embiid, however, committed seven turnovers while playing into the third quarter for the first time all preseason. He has yet to record an assist through six preseason games.
Embiid appeared to have a little scare midway through the second quarter. He reached out and grabbed his right foot after falling to the floor underneath the basket. The third overall pick in the 2014 draft missed the previous two seasons after surgeries in that foot. But he got back up and continued to play.
"I'm fine," Embiid said. "I twisted it a little bit, but I'm fine."
Embiid showed some emotion after being knocked to the floor by Andre Drummond in the third quarter. The players had to be separated after Embiid got up. Drummond went to the bench after the play. Embiid exulted moments later after drawing a foul and scoring on Boban Marjanovic. He made the ensuing foul shot to record the three-point play.
"How about the passion he plays with?" Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "You can't coach that. The passion and desire, Philadelphia is going to love it. They are just going to love it."
The game also marked the Wells Fargo return of Ish Smith (10 points, six assists). The Sixers chose not to re-sign the point guard. Tobias Harris paced Detroit (2-2) with a game-high 18 points.
Hollis Thompson missed the game with the flu.
As expected, Nerlens Noel (left groin strain), Jahlil Okafor (knee soreness), Jerryd Bayless (left wrist soreness), and Ben Simmons (right foot fracture) didn't play. Okafor is the only one of the four who is expected to play in the season opener Oct. 26 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Brown said there was "biting and pain" in Okafor's knee. The 6-11, 265-pound center had surgery in March to repair a torn meniscus in theright knee. He had a setback after battling Embiid in a scrimmage at training camp.
Rodriguez showed what he's capable of while paired with starters Embiid, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, and Dario Saric.
Nicknamed "Spanish Chocolate" for his flashy style of play, Rodriquez did a nice job of running the offense. The problem was the Sixers (1-5) couldn't make any shots. He recorded their only assist of the first quarter. Rodriguez also produced the team's second one with 7:20 remaining in the half.
However, he turned the ball over while dribbling in a crowd. Brown also thought that Rodriguez was running too many plays instead of just going out there and playing.
"He's elusive in open court," Brown said. "He's got a feel. He's slippery with his handle and his vision. So I want him to play more like he's always played."
Rodriguez hopes to play better this season than he did during his first stint in the NBA.
Back then, he averaged 4.3 points and 2.9 assists and 13.2 minutes during his four NBA seasons with Portland, Sacramento, and New York.
"When I [initially] came I was 20, now I'm 30," he said. "So many things have changed in my life. Not only basketball-wise, I have a family now, I have a wife. I have a daughter. So the experience I have now is different than when I came in 2006."
Before the game, Brown said it's not out of the question for Embiid to play in both games of back-to-backs. That statement came after Brown said this summer that Embiid wouldn't do that.
"When he [initially] said that, I don't think it was going to be for the whole season. Maybe for the beginning," Embiid said. "But in my mind, I always thought that eventually I would play [both games of] back-to-backs. I think we got like, what, 17 back-to-backs. I'm not going to miss more than five [games]."