The team took on Jaden Springer with the 28th pick in Thursday night’s draft.
Springer, 18, averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists in Tennessee. He is a strong, athletic player with a solid defensive base. Springer posted a steal percentage of 2.7 and a blocking percentage of 2.0 in college.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is excited about the player Springer could become.
“Jaden is really exciting,” Morey said at an early Friday morning press conference via Zoom. “I know GMs get killed for talking about the hike, but he’s not yet 19, already a productive player in Tennessee. We feel good about his ability to be a 3 and D player in this league. We all know how precious they are.
“He was a top rookie in high school, which I think often indicates a good pool of players to choose from. … So we’re really excited about Jaden. He is in a position where you could see a path to him potentially on the ground. Usually it takes a recruit over a year, but you never know.
Springer shot the ball well last season, achieving 43.5% of his three points and 81% of his free throws. However, he seems to have room to develop as a marksman, since his rider is not the smoothest.
Morey is fully aware that Springer was not a frequent three-point shooter in Tennessee – 46 attempts in total – but believes he will improve over time beyond the NBA arc.
“Obviously he had a good background in college, but limited,” Morey said. “I think you hit on an important thing: he did a very high percentage of his threes in college, but often the volume will tell you a little more. We think his shot will be something that probably right off the bat, we wouldn’t expect him to come and hit 40 percent of the NBA three.
“But we know he’s a worker. We know he has the capacity. We know he has touch around the rim and can do free throws. All of these things often indicate someone who can shoot later. (Head Coach Doc Rivers) has beefed up his coaching team with a shooter proficient person who we are excited to work with (Springer) and others. We’re gonna have a plan for him. He’s not even 19, so the sky’s the limit with Jaden.
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor compared Springer, who was 6-foot-3 without shoes and 202 pounds in the NBA Draft, to Kyle Lowry and Malcolm Brogdon. These are noble names to mention alongside, but Springer has a well-rounded game for his age and has playing potential, especially if his jumper is rolling and defenses need to respect his shot.
Jared Butler, the most notable player of the last four, and West Virginia’s Miles McBride were among the other players available at No.28, which might have made sense for the Sixers on paper.
Springer will overtake Tyrese Maxey, the team’s selection at No.21 last year, as the youngest Sixer.
After drafting Springer, the Sixers picked two great men in the second round, Filip Petrušev and Charles Bassey. They also agreed to a two-way contract with undrafted winger Aaron Henry.