Under previous head coach Doc Rivers, the Philadelphia 76ers were not exactly a friendly zone for young players looking to grow, save for some rare instances. However, a flipping of that script could soon unfold with newly installed tactician Nick Nurse now at the helm.
Nurse, a one-time NBA Champion and Coach of the Year, seems like he’ll take a wayward approach from his predecessor in the aspect of team-building. Whereas Rivers resorted largely to proven commodities when available, the former play caller for the Raptors could very well implement a more developmental approach while still functioning within the organizational edict to win now.
Nick Nurse makes bold declaration about young 76ers prospect
Filip Petrusev, the Sixers’ second-round selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, spent the last couple of seasons overseas with the Anadolu Efes in the Turkish League and the Crvena zvezda in Serbia. He finally made his much-anticipated NBA jump this year, currently suiting up for the 76ers in the ongoing Summer League.
The young Serbian big man has been as good as advertised so far, turning in 12.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in just 21.5 minutes per contest so far. Beyond the numbers, he has showcased his nifty touch around the basket and impeccable timing in deterring shots.
Fortunately, his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, with Nick Nurse himself coming over on Tyrese Maxey’s podcast, Maxey on the Mic, and bared the status of the 23-year-old ahead of the upcoming campaign.
"We’re getting our young guys a lot of minutes. Jaden [Springer] and Lou [King], and some of these guys, Filip, who’s going to be on the roster this year… but we’re also tactically trying to build."
It must be remembered that general manager Daryl Morey was insistent on picking Petrusev instead of trading their second-rounder, which speaks to the potential the latter exhibited in his Gonzaga days prior to returning overseas.
Whether Petrusev lives up to his billing remains to be seen, but he has a ton of time to soak in as much knowledge as possible and hopefully be a regular face donning Philly’s colorways in the coming years. Now, he should finally have the initial shot he needs to be a bona fide NBA stud.