Jaden Springer Sounds Off on Doc Rivers Ahead of the 76ers Showdown Versus Bucks

Doc Rivers Philadelphia 76ers

Getty aden Springer of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Though the purpose of the Philadelphia 76ers‘ entire “Process Era” was to accumulate as many darts to fling at the draft-day dartboard as possible, one thing is abundantly clear: there were far more misses than hits.

Yes, the Markelle Fultz trade netted Tyrese Maxey. Yes, the Sixers landed a perennial MVP candidate in Joel Embiid. But for every Embiid and Maxey, there are several more Jahlil Okafors, Nerlens Noels, and Zaire Smiths.

But it’s currently unfair to put Jaden Springer in either bucket. The 28th pick in the 2021 draft, Springer has spent much of his two seasons in the G-League.

But he’s also been given a few chances this season by Doc Rivers on the pro stage, though the former Tennessee Volunteer is angling for even more.

“Yeah, for sure,” Springer said when asked if he could play in the NBA today, per USA Today’s Sixers Wire. “I can definitely say that. I feel like I can go out there and compete with anybody. So that’s just my mindset going into it. It’s good that Doc believes that also so like I said, I feel good. I’m confident.”

Rivers, who is getting the Sixers ready for an Eastern Conference showdown versus the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night, thinks very highly of Springer’s game.

Doc Rivers Praises 76ers Youngster Jaden Springer

A mid-March blowout of the Washington Wizards gave Springer significant time on the court while the team’s regulars rested. After the game, Rivers praised Springer’s contributions, which included two steals, one rebound, and an assist in his three minutes of action versus the Wiz.

“Jaden (Springer) was on the floor for three minutes, and it felt like he had five steals. He was unpickable,” said Rivers, per Declan Harris of si.com. “Defensively, I’m telling you, he’s going to be an elite defensive player in our league.”

The issue with Springer has never been his defensive contributions. Rather, like former Sixer Matisse Thybulle, his defensive brilliance is overshadowed by his underbaked offensive production.

But as Tobias Harris explained, Springer is making the most of his time in the pros by soaking up what the veterans have to teach him.

“He’s such a good kid in terms of just being a sponge to learn,” Harris said of Springer. “I think on a team like we have is tough just because of all the guys that we have in talent, but every m time he comes back up from the G League or at practices watching him in the low-minute group and stuff like that, he’s continuing to get better.”

Springer and 2023 Slam Dunk Contest winner Mac McClung recently led the Blue Coats to their third-straight G-League Eastern Conference Finals, a feat that has eluded the Sixers for the previous two decades.

Tobias Harris Sounds Off on Jaden Springer

Harris, who also played at the University of Tennessee, has been front row for Springer’s development for some time.

“He went to Tennessee so I’ve seen Jaden since he was in ninth grade, but I’m always just in his ear,” Harris explained. “Like when he’s here just telling him keep working, keep being professional, keep working on your skills.

According to Harris, Springer’s shooting is what’s holding him back. But with more work in the gym, he’ll be an NBA-ready player.

“We’ve had conversations about his shooting and whatnot. I believe that’s the last piece to his game to really solidify it as being a true player in the league and he’s gonna get there.”

The Sixers take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.