As soon as the Philadelphia 76ers took Filip Petrusev with the 50th overall pick in the NBA draft, President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey made it clear he expected the former Gonzaga Bulldog would be playing overseas for at least a year. Per SI.com, “We think Petrusev is someone who has a real chance to help us down the road. He’ll likely start overseas and be someone who could come over later.”
However, Petrusev stated that he would welcome coming to the NBA as soon as possible, and joined the Summer Sixers roster in Las Vegas Summer League perhaps hoping to earn his spot with the big club:
#Sixers 2d-rounder Filip Petrušev can get out of his contract with Serbian team Mega Basket. But Daryl Morey said the PF/C will stay overseas. Asked about that Thursday, Petrušev said: “My intentions would be obviously to come over as soon as possible. But it’s not up to me.”— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) August 6, 2021
With Summer League now in the rearview mirror, though, it looks like Petrusev will indeed head back across the Atlantic. It was officially announced yesterday that he had signed a one-year deal with Anadolu Efes:
The reigning EuroLeague champion and Turkish Super League powerhouse is surely familiar to Sixers fans, as both Dario Saric and Furkan Korkmaz were previously with the program. Playing with Efes is a decided step-up in competition for Petrusev, who played on Mega Soccerbet last year in Serbia.
Across four summer league games for the Sixers in Vegas, the 6-foot-11 Petrusev averaged 4.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. The stretch five capability was not on full display; Petrusev did not make a 3-pointer with the club, and only sank one long jumper that I can recall. He also was a slow-to-react finisher around the basket. On one sequence, Daishen Nix hit a cutting Petrusev with a beautiful pass that should have been an easy lay-in if the big man went up in one fluid motion. Instead, he hesitated and started pivoting around awkwardly after his defender had recovered, completely tossing away the scoring opportunity.
On the plus side, the rim protection was better than advertised; his 2.0 blocks per game ranked 11th in Summer League play. Although Petrusev doesn’t have great quickness laterally, he did show good instincts and timing in getting up to defend shots.
Still just 21 years old, Petrusev will look to continue improving those other areas of his game overseas. Sixers fans now have an excuse to get those old Anadolu Efes jerseys out of storage. It’s always fun to have a stash player to keep an eye on across the pond.