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Trevelin Queen appears to be in an uphill battle to make Sixers’ roster

Trevelin Queen is on a partially guaranteed deal. What will it take for the G League MVP to crack the opening night roster?

2022 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia 76ers

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be profiling every player currently on the Sixers’ roster ahead of training camp, which begins on Sept. 27.

Trevelin Queen

Age: 25

Contract status: $1.6 million, partially guaranteed ($330,000) for 2022-23; $1.9 million, non-guaranteed for 2023-24

Trevelin Queen’s path to the NBA seems like something out of a movie. He didn’t go to a prominent high school or play for a high-profile AAU team growing up in Maryland. He didn’t receive any scholarship offers and went to multiple JUCOs. He was actually homeless for a spell while living in East Oakland before eventually enjoying a successful two-year stint at New Mexico State.

Queen went undrafted and signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Rockets ahead of the 2020-21 season. He spent that season as a member of the Rio Grand Valley Vipers, Houston’s G League affiliate. He signed with the Lakers the following season before being waived and signing a two-way deal with the Rockets.

The 2021-22 G League season was Queen’s coming out party. He averaged 25.2 points a game on 48.5/34.2/79.6 shooting splits. The three-point percentage was below league average, but for context, he attempted nearly 10 threes a game in the Vipers’ uptempo attack. He also averaged 6.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game. He wound up leading Rio Grand Valley to a G League title — dropping 44 points on the Blue Coats in Game 1 — and took home the league’s MVP.

He parlayed that success into a partially guaranteed contract with the Sixers this offseason. He had a rollercoaster of a summer league, but flashed the athleticism and playmaking Daryl Morey likely saw in signing the 25-year-old guard.

Season outlook: The signing of veteran big man Montrezl Harrell further muddies Queen’s chances of making the Sixers’ roster. Both Queen and Charles Bassey have partial guarantees this season while Isaiah Joe’s deal is non-guaranteed. Could the acquisition of Harrell make Bassey expendable? Will it be a competition for Queen and Joe? Could Queen ultimately find himself on a two-way deal with the Sixers?

Though the acquisitions of P.J. Tucker, Danuel House Jr. and De’Anthony Melton (rightfully) grabbed the headlines for adding athleticism, defense and toughness to the roster, Queen fits a similar mold. When watching him in the G League, his motor stands out as much as anything. He plays the game 100 mph, much like the aforementioned players.

The swing skill for Queen, as it is with most perimeter players, is his shot. Tucker, House and Melton were all over 37 percent from three last season. If Queen wants a crack at the roster, he’ll need to prove he can hit from deep. While he shot poorly in summer league (11 of 44 from three) there are signs he might develop into a decent shooter. He shot 38.7 percent from three on over five attempts his last year of college. He hit 9 of 24 in 10 games at the NBA level last season. He’s also proven to be a very good free throw shooter, going 13 of 14 during summer league and shooting nearly 80 percent in the G League last season.

The one aspect of Queen’s game that might appeal to Doc Rivers is his playmaking. We’ve seen Doc favor a player like Furkan Korkmaz over someone like Joe because of the ability to put the ball on the floor. While the turnover numbers were ugly as can be (4.3 per game), Queen flashed playmaking chops. As has been mentioned in this space, summer league is not an optimal environment for every player. The lack of continuity for Queen and his teammates likely led to many of those turnovers and cost him a few assists.

Queen will get a long look, but there will be fierce competition for the final roster spots during training camp. Can Queen show a little bit of that dog mentality while proving he can space the floor effectively for the Sixers’ stars? We’ll see.

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