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2021 NBA Draft: Sixers Grades & Reactions Roundup

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NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Tennessee vs Alabama Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 NBA Draft has concluded and the Philadelphia 76ers are walking away with the rights to three players: Jaden Springer (28th), Filip Petrusev (50th), and Charles Bassey (53rd). They also signed undrafted free agent Aaron Henry. Harrison Grimm wrote about the selection of Jaden Springer, while Dave Early wrote about the 2nd rounders and Aaron Henry. Below, we’ve gathered grades and reactions to the Sixers’ picks from around the web.

Ricky O’Donnell, SB Nation

28. Philadelphia 76ers - Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee

This might be the best value pick of the draft. We viewed Springer as a lottery-level prospect who had a standout freshman season at Tennessee despite being one of the youngest American players in the draft. A powerful 6’4 guard, Springer is a relentless on-ball defender who can bully smaller guards at the point of attack. While his offensive production felt a bit underwhelming given his high school reputation, Springer still hit 44 percent of his threes on low volume and showed an ability to play through contact in the paint. This is the second year in a row the Sixers found a big steal in the lottery after taking Tyrese Maxey in the 20s last year.

Grade: A

Derek Bodner, The Athletic

The Sixers got themselves a tenacious on-ball defender in Jaden Springer, who at 6-foot-4, with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, has some multi-positional defensive versatility to him as well. The way he can get right up on a ballhandler and pressure the point of attack while having the foot speed to contain his man off the dribble should give the Sixers a solid weapon on that end of the court. The defense should translate. The big question is going to come down to whether the jump shot is legitimate. He made 43.5 percent of his 3-point looks, but that was on a very low volume of just 46 attempts. He also shot 81 percent from the free-throw line, which is another good indicator. Still, he shot just 30.8 percent on jumpers overall, having gone a pretty disastrous 19-of-70 on jumpers inside of the arc, according to Synergy Sports.

Springer is really young, as he doesn’t turn 19 until September, so he has time to hone his shot, and if he does that, he should be able to fill a role in the league. But the jumper is definitely his swing skill.

Sam Vecenie, The Athletic

28. Philadelphia 76ers

Jaden Springer | 6-4 guard | 18 years old, freshman | Tennessee

Vecenie’s Ranking: 20

Springer is talented but has a difficult game to project to the next level. He’s going to really have to add some different craft and counters, as well as change the way he plays solely off of two feet. If he figures out the jumper, he’s a terrific 3-and-D two-guard who can pinch hit at the one sometimes, take on tough perimeter defensive assignments with how good he is on the ball and hopefully provide value on offense. The road really isn’t that far, even if the upside is something more in the range of an effective role player as opposed to a star.

50. Philadelphia 76ers

Filip Petrusev | 7-0 center | 21 years old | Mega

Vecenie’s Ranking: 58

Petrusev has been about as productive as a center can be over the last two years. He was an All-American at Gonzaga, then went overseas and won MVP in an incredibly competitive league. He has great hands and great touch. But I can’t quite get there with him largely due to concerns over what his fit is in the NBA. He does not have any chance to get stops on defense in the NBA, and that’s while playing the most important defensive position. The stretch shooting is nice, and it does give him a differentiator, but I’m not sure it’s enough of one to make up for the defensive concerns.

53. Philadelphia 76ers

Charles Bassey | 6-10 center | 20 years old, junior | Western Kentucky

Vecenie’s Ranking: 59

I’m still skeptical that he’ll be anything more than a backup center, but he has a pretty reasonable chance to get there with some simple improvements within his game. He has to be willing to keep things as simple as possible, with none of the crazy stuff off the bounce that leads to turnovers. He needs to get better positionally in drop coverage — a process that has already begun. He also has to be more willing to just go up and play through physical play, something else he’s improved on but needs to get even better. He’s such an easy leaper and good rim runner with strong hands that it’s easy to understand an offensive role here. And he’s instinctually so good around the basket as a rim protector that he might be able to carve out a role there, too.

Gary Parrish & Kyle Boone, CBS Sports

28. Philadelphia 76ers: PG Jaden Springer, Tennessee

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. Grade: B+

Kevin O’Connor, The Ringer

28. Jaden Springer


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.

Grade: A-

Kyle Neubeck, Philly Voice

Ultimately, Springer’s story at this level is going to hinge on the work he puts in and Philadelphia’s ability to bring him along and improve his craft. If you take his competitive fire at the defensive end and use that as an indicator of his care for the game, Springer seems like a good guy to bet on to improve. With the team raving about their low-minute group last year, he’ll also be joining a group of young guys who will make each other better by putting pressure on their peers to succeed. And frankly, if he can become a reliable shooter, that along with his defense will be enough to make him a solid role player, with room to be even more if he can add another skill or two to his game.

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