July 30, 2021
The Sixers made a trio of draft picks on Thursday night, which is three more than many expected them to make after there was talk that they could package those picks as part of a deal for a veteran player, the kind of win-now move that should at the heart of the Sixers' offseason plans.
Instead, the team grabbed three young players: Tennessee guard Jaden Springer (28th overall), former Gonzaga center and Adriatic League MVP Filip Petrusev (50th) and Western Kentucky big man Charles Bassey (53rd).
In addition to making all their picks, the Sixers also failed to find a trade partner for Ben Simmons, although there was no guarantee that a deal was ever going to get done on draft night and Philly has maintained that they're not in a rush to move on from the All-Star guard, if even all signs point toward that being the eventual conclusion. But we're not here to talk about Simmons — a rarity in Sixers stories these days, I know. Instead, we're looking at those three players mentioned above, and specifically whether or not the local and national basketball media believes they were the best options for Daryl Morey and Co.
That's right, it's that time-honored NBA Draft tradition: grades!
We've got some that are just for the first round, some that look at each pick individually and some that group them all together for one overall grade. Let's dive in...
The main thing Springer is lacking at this stage is the ability to break down defenders off the dribble. But everything else is there. He can hit spot-up 3s. He can score at the rim. He shows good passing vision. And if he’s able to become a more dynamic dribbler, it could unleash his ability to generate jump shots off the bounce. But what he will bring to the 76ers from Day 1 is defense. He’s gritty, and it won’t take long for Philly fans to realize it.
Grade: A- [theringer.com]
28. Philadelphia 76ers: PG Jaden Springer, Tennessee
I am a fan of what Springer could become, but there's a reasonable concern that he has used his power to get places in high school and college and might not have the skill to do that stuff in the NBA. Jared Butler and Ayo Dosunmu might have been better picks. Grade: B+
50. Philadelphia 76ers (from New York): PF Filip Petrusev, Serbia
Pretty interesting upside bet here for Philly. A former Gonzaga standout, Petrusev spent last season with Mega Basket and sharpened his shooting skills in a real way, hitting 41.9% of his 3s. At 7-foot, he presents good value as a late-bloomer who could be a floor-spacing center. Grade: B
53. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans): C Charles Bassey, Western Kentucky
I had Bassey mocked to the 76ers in the first round thinking that center depth would be high priority for this Philly front office. Getting him at 53 should be considered a win. He's more of a throwback big man, but he dominated Conference USA as a shot-blocker and interior post presence and has the rebounding chops to at worst be a backup center. Grade: A [cbssports.com]
28. Philadelphia 76ers: Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee
Springer is a nice value pick for the Sixers, who can develop him as a long-term prospect. There’s a bit of overlap between his skill set and Tyrese Maxey’s, but he’s a tough, defensive-minded guard and has yet to turn 19. Springer was hampered by an injury for part of the year at Tennessee and has some tangible upside on offense, as he becomes a better shooter and playmaker. While there may have been a case for Philly to grab an older guy here, Springer was arguably the most interesting teenage prospect left on the board.
Grade: B+ [si.com]
28. Philadelphia 76ers
Jaden Springer | 6-4 guard | 18 years old, freshman | Tennessee
Vecenie’s Ranking: 20
Springer is talented but has a difficult game to project to the next level. He’s going to really have to add some different craft and counters, as well as change the way he plays solely off of two feet. If he figures out the jumper, he’s a terrific 3-and-D two-guard who can pinch hit at the one sometimes, take on tough perimeter defensive assignments with how good he is on the ball and hopefully provide value on offense. The road really isn’t that far, even if the upside is something more in the range of an effective role player as opposed to a star.
Hollinger’s team fit: Some of this will inevitably depend on how the Sixers work out a Ben Simmons trade, but I had Springer rated in my top 20 and think Philadelphia got good value here. He profiles as more of a combo guard and his role could collide with that of Shake Milton, but his defense may be good enough to get him some minutes right away. While I’ve also argued for Butler or McBride in previous picks, Springer is younger and has more long-term upside. I like his chance to make an impact here in future seasons.
Hollinger would have picked… Springer [theathletic.com]
[NOTE: There were no actual grades here, despite the headline saying there would be, so we'll just leave it at their Springer analysis and won't go into the second round.]
28. Philadelphia 76ers - Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee
This might be the best value pick of the draft. We viewed Springer as a lottery-level prospect who had a standout freshman season at Tennessee despite being one of the youngest American players in the draft. A powerful 6’4 guard, Springer is a relentless on-ball defender who can bully smaller guards at the point of attack. While his offensive production felt a bit underwhelming given his high school reputation, Springer still hit 44 percent of his threes on low volume and showed an ability to play through contact in the paint. This is the second year in a row the Sixers found a big steal in the lottery after taking Tyrese Maxey in the 20s last year.
Grade: A [sbnation.com]
He is confident going to the basket and shooting the three. But he attempted only 46 shots from beyond the arc, so, even though he shot 43.5%, it was a small sample size.
Like Tyrese Maxey, Springer doesn’t appear to be a pure point guard but might be able to provide minutes there it if he improves his handle. He appeared careless with the ball, and, while he might have gotten away with it in the SEC, he won’t in the NBA. ...
What the Sixers like is that he is a willing defender, although some of the gambles he did in college won’t work in the NBA.
Was it a good pick? Look at who the Sixers bypassed. It seems like decent value. We had him going 26 in our Inquirer mock draft.
For a player with the reputation of a hard worker, who doesn’t shy away from playing defense, and plays with confidence on offense, he could be a positive addition.
Don’t expect immediate results, but this appears to be a solid pick
Grade: B [inquirer.com]
It should come as no surprise that Sixers executive Daryl Morey selected one of the draft's analytics darlings. Springer filled the box score with limited touches at Tennessee, and his work ethic should make the 18-year-old a two-way contributor for a team that has long been searching for help in the backcourt.
Petrusev captured Adriatic League MVP honors, and Bassey was a top high school recruit whose college career was interrupted by a leg injury. There are worse bets to find a decent future backup for Joel Embiid.
Grade: B+ [sports.yahoo.com]
Jaden Springer (No. 28 Overall), Grade: A-
Admittedly, I am higher on Springer than the consensus. Through that lens, this is a fantastic pick for Philadelphia. He does overlap a bit with Tyrese Maxey, who the Sixers nabbed in another value selection last year, but Springer’s defense should fit right in with Philadelphia and he’s an underrated shot creator. It was an odd season at Tennessee, but Springer falling this far is a bit strange, and the Sixers found themselves a strong prospect without having to trade up to do it. [uproxx.com]
Philadelphia 76ers – B
Ben Simmons is still a 76er, for now at least, which overshadowed Philadelphia’s night. That doesn’t mean Daryl Morey had a bad evening. Springer is a sneaky-good pick – he defends, shot 43 percent from deep in his lone year in college and is still 18 years old – while the physically imposing Bassey could backup Joel Embiid in the pivot. [nypost.com]
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