There’s a lot of young talent on the Sixers‘ current roster, from the elephant in the room, Ben Simmons, to the reigning 28th overall pick, Jaden Springer. Not many contenders can match Philadelphia’s volume of youth, but how important is each player to the future? Today, we find out.
Taking some inspiration from our friends over at Blue Man Hoop, we decided to rank every member of the Sixers’ young core. For the purposes of this article (so we can exclude Ben Simmons, who has one foot out the door), the rankings will focus on players age 24 or younger.
This ranking will focus on the big picture — which prospects mean the most to Philadelphia’s future, rather than which prospects will contribute most next season.
Let’s start at the bottom.
Ranking the Sixers’ young core — 10. Grant Riller
The Sixers waived Rayjon Tucker in favor of Grant Riller, who will occupy one of Philadelphia’s two-way contract slots. He’s a neat prospect, and was a Sixers Twitter favorite during the 2020 NBA Draft cycle. That said, he played 18 total minutes as a rookie and does not project as an essential part of the Sixers’ young core. His shot-making could turn some heads in the G-League, but he’s on the bottom rung of Philadelphia’s developmental ladder.
Ranking the Sixers’ young core — 9. Charles Bassey
A contract dispute has marred Charles Bassey’s summer. He held out of Summer League and still hasn’t signed his rookie deal. The Sixers want to give him a three-year contract with one year guaranteed, according to The Athletic’s Derek Bodner, but Bassey wants two years guaranteed. If the two sides can’t bridge the gap, then Bassey is expected to sign the mandatory one-year tender and become a free agent next offseason.
Good on Bassey for sticking to his guns and betting on himself, but that puts his future with the team in immediate jeopardy — especially with Filip Petrusev anxious to join the team from overseas. Center depth has been an issue in the past, but Paul Reed outranks him in the depth chart and no one is unseating Joel Embiid any time soon.
Ranking the Sixers’ young core — 8. Aaron Henry
The Sixers’ other two-way contract slot belongs to Aaron Henry, who went undrafted out of Michigan State. I actually had Henry a few spots higher than Bassey on my draft board, and I’m generally more interested in the long-term upside of a versatile, defensive-minded wing than I am a third-string center. Henry needs to figure out the 3-point shot, but he’s a lockdown defender with some intriguing offensive skills at his disposal.