With the Utah and Vegas Summer Leagues coming to a close, we take a look at nine players that were part of the Summer Sixers and see which prospects have a future with the organization.
It was evident roughly two minutes into the first Summer League game that Reed was too good to be playing. Credit to Reed, who Doc Rivers has praised countless times for his work ethic, for wanting to get more reps, but it seems clear Reed will be getting serious minutes as a backup five this season.
Reed, who was the team’s primary backup center during the postseason, averaged 17 points on 59.6 true shooting in Utah. He also pulled down 11 rebounds and grabbed 2.5 steals in 30 minutes a game. What was most encouraging is that it looked like Bball Paul tinkered with his shot, going 2 of 5 from three. Reed’s ability to stretch the floor at the NBA level — something he’s already done well in the G League — makes him even more intriguing as a combo big.
Much like Reed, it was clear Joe was a cut above many of the other players participating in Summer League. In five total games, Joe averaged 15.8 points in 24 minutes a game. He shot a preposterous 20 of 38 (52.6) from three. He showed off a little bit of his playmaking skills, an area Rivers and the team have wanted him to grow, with 2.4 assists a game. He also tallied 2.6 steals a game.
I’m in the camp that doesn’t understand why Joe hasn’t gotten a longer NBA look. Yes, these are Summer League numbers, but you sent him there for a reason and he excelled in what figures to be a big summer for him (Joe’s contract is not guaranteed this season). He showed off a little more off the bounce and was more stout defensively, to go along with his strong lateral quickness and instincts. The rotation is much more crowded this season, so Joe will likely be fighting with Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz to be the team’s 10th man. Joe might be the best 3-and-D archetype among those listed names.
Summer League was a bit of a mixed bag for Bassey. At times he showed why he might’ve deserved a look as a backup five last season. Other times he struggled mightily with fouls and turnovers. The skill and defensive chops were on display, but so too were issues with discipline as Bassey averaged four fouls and over two turnovers in 20.7 minutes a game.
Bassey is still 21 and in just his second NBA season. He can’t hit restricted free agency until 2024 so the team can take its time with his development. We’ll see if he gets more of a look in 2022-23.
The 19-year-old Springer showed off his elite athleticism but also the serious holes in his game. The 2021 first-round pick was able to blow by defenders, get to the rim and draw free throws, but his shot is still a very serious question mark. His defense might already be NBA-ready, but it’s hard to imagine Rivers giving serious consideration to giving Springer regular rotation minutes. Springer is likely at least a year away.
To call Queen’s Summer League a “mixed bag” would be an enormous understatement. At times we saw the G League MVP show exactly why the Sixers brought him here. At 6-foot-6, Queen is a strong playmaker, a great athlete and has a high motor on both ends. Issues with turnovers (4.3 per game) and his outside shot (25 percent from three) are the biggest concerns as Queen heads to camp on a partially-guaranteed deal.
Barring a trade, it’s hard to see a path for Queen to make the opening night roster. He seems like an excellent candidate for a two-way contract, depending on how things shake out in camp. The fact that Queen’s free throw numbers (19 of 20 in Summer League) are so good gives you hope that he could extend his range — but he’s not there yet.
Charlie Brown Jr.
Brown impressed on the defensive end during his brief NBA stint last season, but he showed a little bit more of his offensive game during Summer League. While 0-for-9 and 3-for-12 performances skewed his overall shooting numbers, Brown flashed a little off the dribble and teases the ability to shoot despite a funky release. It was most evident in the team’s final Summer League game against the Bulls where he scored 21 points, hit 2 of 4 from three, 7 of 7 from the line, and had four assists.
Brown is an ideal two-way player in that if the team is missing a wing, the 25-year-old can fill in admirably, especially defensively. The swing skill for him — as it is for nearly every young wing — is the shot. He can defend at the NBA level, he can rebound well off the wing and he’s not a disaster if he has to dribble. If he can shoot threes like he did in the G League last year (37 percent on 5.4 attempts) at the next level, he has a shot to be a solid bench piece — here or elsewhere.
Michael Foster Jr.
Foster went into the Summer League without any formal deal with the Sixers, but the G League Ignite product was inked to an Exhibit 10 contract in Vegas. Foster is just 19 and still mighty raw, but the physical attributes are intriguing at 6-foot-8. Foster played less than 15 minutes a game this summer but still averaged 5.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and nearly a block and a steal a game. He also made 2 of 6 from three, flashing combo big potential. If the Sixers look to pivot from Julian Champagnie with their second two-way spot, Foster is an interesting candidate.
Riller also didn’t get a ton of run during Summer League, but shined in the last two games when he did. He was efficient, scoring 18 points in 18 minutes against the Nuggets and 19 points in just under 18 minutes against the Bulls. He was 5 of 9 from three with a 67.5 true shooting percentage across those games.
Riller was signed to a two-way deal by the Sixers ahead of the 2021-22 season, but suffered a torn meniscus in the preseason. The team was forced to move on and Riller missed the entire season. Riller’s size and lack of elite athleticism are concerns, but he’s shown the ability to run an offense and create off the dribble, attributes the Sixers could use. The 25-year-old should also be a two-way candidate — though at this point he hasn’t received a camp invite.
We didn’t see much of Petrusev this summer, either. The 2021 second-round pick has been playing overseas the last two seasons, which could be why he didn’t get extended run in Vegas. He played in just four games, shining in his last performance with 14 points in 16 minutes while shooting 5 of 7 from the field and 1 of 1 from three. He also recorded three blocks. His defense as a whole shined in his two Summer League stints in 2021 and 2022. The 22-year-old will likely spend another season overseas.