Sixers draft another first-round steal in Jaden Springer

Jaden Springer, Sixers draft (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Jaden Springer, Sixers draft (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

The Sixers have done it again. In Thursday night’s NBA Draft, Daryl Morey and the Sixers front office delivered another promising young player to the franchise in 18-year-old Jaden Springer, a freshman guard out of Tennessee. He was the No. 15 prospect on our big board, and had no business falling as far as he did.

Morey has proven his expertise as a drafter in two years with the franchise. Last season, he capitalized on the unexpected fall of Tyrese Maxey. This season, it’s Springer, who much like Maxey, is a lottery-level talent. He has a chance to earn minutes next season, and should be quick to earn the trust of the Philly faithful.

Springer is young, and he will no doubt need time to grow, but he’s a competent day-one contributor who competes hard. His defense, in conjunction with Maxey’s offensive juice, leaves the Sixers’ bench in good hands.

The Sixers were highly fortunate to select Tennessee freshman Jaden Springer with the 28th pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

There was no better value on the board at 28. Morey made — in this writer’s humble opinion — the best possible pick. Another lottery talent slipped in Sharife Cooper, but given the fit concerns with a slender non-shooting guard, Springer was the better option. Morey has hit back-to-back home runs on draft night.

Again, Springer has his imperfections. He shot 44.4 percent from 3 at Tennessee, but did so on very limited volume. The load-up time on his release is a smidge long, and he won’t provide much as an off-the-dribble shooter, but the Sixers can survive with him taking spot-up 3s and attacking closeouts.

Springer is not an elite athlete, but he’s a good one, with strength and length to defend either guard spot at a high level. He’s hyper-aware on the defensive end, with advanced instincts and a genuine will to excel on that side of the ball.

Offensively, Springer is a capable secondary ball-handler and playmaker, with strong court vision and a glue-guy feel to his game. He will connect a lot of dots for teammates, with quick decisions and intelligent off-ball movement. Getting the 3-pointer to fall at a higher volume is the big next step, but Springer’s touch and free-throw success are positive indicators. He’s toolsy and smart and still only 18. Just a remarkable value for the Sixers at 28.

In the second round of Thursday’s NBA Draft, the Sixers angled for two backup centers — Filip Petrusev at 50 and Charles Bassey at 53.

With the 50th and 53rd pick, the Sixers sought out affordable reserve options at center. Philadelphia has tried and failed for years to find a suitable backup to Joel Embiid. We shall see if one of Filip Petrusev or Charles Bassey hits.

In Petrusev, the Sixers get one of the most productive young players in Europe. The former Gonzaga star won Adriatic League MVP last season for Mega Bemax, a long-running hotbed for NBA talent. He led the league in scoring, and shot 41.9 percent from deep. The Sixers are expected to stash him, according to The Athletic’s Rich Hofmann.

Bassey, on the other hand, may get a chance to crack the roster next season. Whether it’s on a rookie-scale contract or a two-way deal is yet to be seen. The former five-star recruit spent three seasons at Western Kentucky, where he dominated lower-level competition and became one of the best rebounding bigs in college basketball. He blocked 3.1 shots per game as a junior, and will take up a lot of space in the lane.

All in all, a successful night behind the controls for Daryl Morey and company. Two draft-night thieveries in a row.

Next. 15 greatest draft picks in franchise history. dark