With the drama-filled season that the Philadelphia 76ers had last season, it was easy to forget about 2021 first round pick Jaden Springer. Springer was the 28th pick of that draft and is one of the youngest NBA players at 19 years old.
It’s hard to expect a lot of a player that age, but with the Sixers in a win-now mode, they need more from their former first round pick. Whether or not it’s fair, this upcoming season is a make-or-break one for Springer.
Make-or-break season for Springer and the Sixers.
When the 76ers selected Springer, it gave me flashbacks of when they made the draft night trade for Zhaire Smith in 2018. Smith was also a young raw prospect who had high-end athleticism and defensive skills. However, Smith didn’t show much growth in his second season and was traded the following offseason. Smith hasn’t played in the NBA since.
The good news for Philly fans is that Springer had a stronger basketball foundation than did and based on his G-League production the only skill he lacks is an efficient outside shot. Springer spent most of his rookie season in the G-League.
In fact, out of all first round picks in the 2021 class, he spent the least amount of the time in the NBA with only two games played. The second least amount from that round was 20 games by Jalen Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks. Of all the draft picks that played this season, Springer was tied for the lowest amount of games played in the NBA with second rounders David Johnson of the Toronto Raptors and Scottie Lewis of the Charlotte Hornets also tying him in games played.
This upcoming Summer League will be important to gauge his growth and according to Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly.com, he will be a participant. If he can’t show he can be a reliable threat on offense during Summer League and this upcoming season then the Sixers have to consider trading him for a player who can help compete for a title.
The good news for Sixers is that Daryl Morey believes that Springer will take a big leap, per Levick. If that is the case, the Philadelphia 76ers will be all the better for it.