How did Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey fare in his second NBA draft with the team?
We won’t have any good answers to that question for a while, though plenty of assessments are already out there.
Here’s a look at how analysts graded the Sixers’ selection of Tennessee guard Jaden Springer with the 28th pick:
O’Connor: “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.”
The point about Springer not having much elusiveness as a ball handler is a fair one, though he obviously has plenty of positive qualities. His development should be more about fine-tuning and expanding his game than correcting any terrible weaknesses.
Woo: “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.”
Springer suffered a sprained ankle in January but there’s no indication he has any health issues at present. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (No. 32), Jason Preston (No. 33), Miles McBride (No. 36), Ayo Dosunmu (No. 38) and Jared Butler (No. 40) were potential Sixers picks with multiple years of college experience.
Rowland: “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.”
Maxey and Springer do have some similarities, although fit tends not to be a serious worry late in Round 1. The two playing together — especially with Matisse Thybulle — would no doubt be easier if one or both become decent NBA three-point shooters.
Parrish: “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.”
This is a logical concern. Along these same lines of wondering how effective Springer can be as a dribble penetrator: Will he be able to attack the paint off of closeouts? He doesn’t have a fast release on his jumper and likely won’t be regarded as a dangerous shooter, which might be slight early-career obstacles.
Curtis: “Hmm. I’m gonna say it: if the Sixers deal Ben Simmons, he could be asked to do a lot more than expected in his first season. Even then, it can’t hurt to have a two-way guard like him in the rotation. A good call by Philly’s front office.”
Morey was transparent about drafting Springer with the long term in mind, though he obviously wouldn’t mind a pleasant surprise.
“He’s in a position where you could see a path to him potentially getting on the floor,” Morey said. “Usually it takes a rookie more than a year, but you never know.”
Rohrbach: “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.”
The double dose of second-round big men means Morey has already chosen three frontcourt players in the 50s for the Sixers. Bassey and Paul Reed, the No. 58 pick last year, should match up on occasion during training camp, while Morey expects Petrusev to play next season overseas.