Sixers

Sixers to sign Saben Lee to two-way contract, waive Foster Jr.

Sixers

Down their two primary guards, the Sixers have opted to add one through a two-way contract spot.

The team will sign Saben Lee to a two-way deal and waive rookie big man Michael Foster Jr., a source confirmed Tuesday night to NBC Sports Philadelphia shortly after the Sixers' win over the Nets. ESPN's Tim Bontemps first reported the news and noted Foster would again be eligible to play for the Delaware Blue Coats if he clears waivers. 

The Sixers beat Brooklyn despite James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Joel Embiid and Jaden Springer all sitting with injuries. While De'Anthony Melton and Shake Milton have played well in much more substantial roles, the team could certainly use another guard. 

The 23-year-old Lee began this season with Raptors 905, which is Toronto's G League affiliate. He shouldn't require any conditioning ramp-up; Lee played 40 minutes Monday night in an overtime loss and posted 23 points and nine assists. In seven G League contests this year, Lee averaged 21.7 points, 6.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds. 

Foster and two-way player Julian Champagnie only played in garbage time against Brooklyn. The Sixers used a 10-man rotation, though head coach Doc Rivers said Matisse Thybulle was unavailable after halftime for a second consecutive game because of a lingering ankle injury. Furkan Korkmaz was the player off the bench most qualified for a "backup ball handler" label. He returned from a three-game absence with a left knee effusion to play 21 minutes and score nine points.

 

The 6-foot-2 Lee was selected 38th overall in the 2020 NBA draft out of Vanderbilt. He's got some craftiness as a pick-and-roll playmaker and drew foul shots at a high rate (167 adjusted free throw rate) in two seasons as a Detroit Piston. Lee also forced turnovers well in limited minutes, ranking in the 86th percentile among point guards for steal rate last season and the 80th percentile for block rate, according to Cleaning the Glass. Lee was not an effective or high-volume outside shooter across 85 games for Detroit, making just 26.5 percent of his three-pointers.

The Sixers like Foster's potential, but he is just 19 years old and Tuesday night was his NBA debut. Former two-way player Paul Reed was a huge help in replacing Embiid, recording 19 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and two blocks in an outstanding performance. 

The Sixers entered the season with one available regular roster spot and have yet to fill it. For the time being, Lee will be another option on the bench for Rivers.