Former Sixers First Round Pick Called out over Offensive Struggles

Jaden Springer, Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Jaden Springer #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers found a diamond in the rough with Tyrese Maxey in 2020. The former Kentucky Wildcat spent the 2021-22 season establishing himself as the team’s third (and at times, second) option, leapfrogging Tobias Harris in the process.

But the Sixers haven’t quite been so lucky with another recent first-rounder. In last year’s draft, Philadelphia took Tennessee Volunteers star Jaden Springer at No. 28. Springer was hailed as an excellent perimeter defender, but one that lacks much on the other end of the floor. Yet so touted was Springer’s defense that this time last year, he was pegged as the team’s best perimeter defender after Ben Simmons.

Flash forward a year, and Ben Simmons is long gone from the City of Brotherly Love. But Springer never did quite make that leap last season, establishing himself as the team’s best perimeter defender. Part of the problem was his youth and inexperience — Springer won’t turn 20 for another 13 days.

And according to Harrison Grimm of Liberty Ballers, Springer needs to show more offensive pop this season if he’s going to have a future on this team.

“Springer’s defense and athleticism are present, and the offense simply needs to catch up. There’s a very solid argument that there’s [an] NBA player within him if he can clean up his release and shoot the ball well from the perimeter,” wrote Grimm on September 11.

From the sounds of it, Springer is headed for another season honing his skills in the G-League.

What to Expect from Jaden Springer in the G-League

Last season, Springer performed admirably for the Delaware Blue Coats, Philadelphia’s G-League team. He registered a decent 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 blocks a night through 19 games with the Blue Coats.

With defensive prowess, the Sixers should hope Springer develops into a solid three-and-D contributor. The only problem? Springer connected on just 24.1% of threes last season in the G-League. Spending another stint on the development squad should benefit Springer, however. And it’s precisely where Grimm sees Springer next season.

“Everything lines up that we will probably be watching Springer in the G League for the majority of the time,” wrote Grimm. “While that may seem like a bummer, he’s still very young — and can sharpen his skills with playing time.”

Even if Springer is destined for another season with the Blue Coats, he’s still attracted the attention of some scouts and analysts. In fact, Springer recently cracked the Sixers’ top 13.

Springer Rated the No. 13 Philadelphia 76ers Player This Season

The Sixers went out this summer and addressed clear areas of need. One of those areas? Bench depth. The second unit got much more crowded after the additions of Montrezl Harrell, Danuel House, and De’Anthony Melton.

But despite the additions, Springer still cracked the top-15 in Bleacher Report’s Sixers’ roster power rankings ahead of the season. But Zach Buckley was candid in his assessment of Springer’s game.

“Springer has six NBA minutes under his belt—19 if you include the postseason. There are zero conclusions to draw right now about his career trajectory,” Buckley wrote for Bleacher Report on September 8.

Even still, Springer should be thrilled about the ranking. Other players with far more experience — Paul Reed, Isaiah Joe, Charles Bassey — failed to crack the rankings altogether. It’s a sign that insiders believe in Springer’s skill, despite a lack of floor time with Philadelphia.

Read More