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Will Julian Champagnie hang on to Sixers’ two-way spot?

The Sixers quickly signed Julian Champagnie to a two-way deal after the draft, but the St. John’s product struggled in summer league action.

2022 Salt Lake City Summer- Philadelphia 76ers v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

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.

Julian Champagnie

Age: 21

Contract status: Two-way contract for 2022-23; qualifying offer ($1.8 million) for 2023-24

Almost as soon as the 2022 NBA Draft concluded, reports surfaced that the Sixers were signing Champagnie, who went undrafted, to a two-way deal. The St. John’s product had a successful three-year run with the Red Storm. After making the Big East All-Freshman Team, Champagnie led the conference in scoring as a sophomore. He was named to the All-Big East First Team and took home the conference’s Most Improved Player award in 2020-21. He received another first team nod and finished second in the conference in scoring in 2021-22.

It’s the 2020-21 season that stands out when scouting Champagnie. Not only did he lead the conference in scoring, but he also led the Big East in free throws made and offensive box plus/minus. He averaged 19.8 points a game while shooting 38 percent from three on high volume (6.3 attempts per game). He showed a propensity to get to the line (4.6 free throw attempts per game) while making a high percentage (88.7 percent, tops in the conference). On the defensive end, he finished in the top 10 in steals (1.4) and blocks (1.0) per game. Champagnie pulled down 7.4 rebounds per contest as well.

Champagine was less efficient in 2021-22, seemingly with more attention paid to him as the obvious focal point of St. John’s offense. He still averaged 19.2 points a game, but all of his percentages went down.

The 6-foot-8 wing’s size is likely his biggest asset. He’s able to see over the defense and hit shots with a hand in his face. While he’s not a dynamo on-ball, he does show off more ability in that regard than your average player at 6-8 and can attack a closeout. He also proved to be a decent rebounder and used his length to rack up a decent amount of stocks.

With that said, we didn’t see a whole lot of that come through during a rough summer league stint. In seven games, Champagnie averaged just three points a game on a paltry 22.7 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from three. He didn’t do much to stand out on the defensive end either.

You don’t want to judge his summer league too harshly, though. These can be weird environments for young players with a lack of continuity with teammates that are sort of thrown together and not much knowledge of what the team runs.

Season outlook: Though Champagnie currently has one of two two-way spots (Charlie Brown Jr. has the other), that doesn’t mean he’ll have it all season — or even by the end of camp. The Sixers have a pair of intriguing candidates in Trevelin Queen and Michael Foster Jr. Queen signed a partially guaranteed deal this summer, so if he’s waived and goes unclaimed by another team, he’d slot in nicely. Foster Jr. is intriguing as a 19-year-old big that spent last season with the G League Ignite and could easily be converted from an Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way deal. Isaiah Joe (non-guaranteed) and Charles Bassey (partial guarantee) could also be darkhorse candidates given their contracts.

Champagnie will likely need a strong camp to fend off the competition. He’ll need to rediscover the shot and scoring touch he flashed during his time at St. John’s.

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