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What are the Sixers’ plans for Filip Petrusev?

How many centers are too many? The Sixers want to find out.

2023 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Memphia Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers

Ready or not, another season of 76ers basketball is right around the corner. With that being said, it is once again time for preseason player profiles at Liberty Ballers.

We already looked at the two-way guys and players the team has signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, looking forward to how they could impact the team in the 2023-24 season.

Filip Petrusev

Age: 23

Contract status: Two-year, $3.0 million deal; $1.2 million for 2023-24 ($560K guaranteed); $1.9 million for 2024-25 (non-guaranteed)

On July 17, though he wouldn’t be the last of the summer, Filip Petrusev became the fourth center signed to the 76ers. He was drafted in 2021, but is only coming back to America this season after spending the previous two in the EuroLeague.

Petrusev averaged 10.7 points per game and 5.2 rebounds a game in the EuroLeague before coming to America to attempt to make the Sixers roster. He had a fine Summer League, putting up similar numbers to his career averages with 10.4 points per game and 6.2 rebounds per game in five Summer League games.

It felt like a fairly quiet 10 and six however, not quite having the impact you would hope a player as accomplished as Petrusev would have in an exhibition setting. His playing time waned as more athletic bigs were given more time in competitive situations; Petrusev didn’t even play in three of the games in Vegas.

Still, the Sixers have seen enough that they want to give him a chance. They seemed committed to him making the roster before Summer League started, and they came through on that even after a quiet performance.

Petrusev’s game is a bit of a throwback. He likes to post up inside, but isn’t physically demanding enough to cause mismatches. He has an okay jump shot with decent touch but certainly isn’t a high volume shooter.

He isn’t a traffic cone on defense, but there’s reasons to be skeptical he’ll be able to hang athletically at the NBA level. On top of all of this, he is completely buried on the depth chart. Even with Montrezl Harrell going down with a season-ending injury, Paul Reed and Mo Bamba are in front of him, and that is just to backup Joel Embiid, the reigning MVP of the league.

Despite that, the Sixers used up one of their 15 roster spots to give him a two-year deal, 50 percent of it guaranteed for this season. The organization has clearly liked what they’ve seen out of him so far. From the outside looking in, it’s hard to see Petrusev being an impactful player for this team.

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