Doc Rivers Calls Out ‘Elite’ Sixers Youngster After Stellar Performance

Doc Rivers Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Head coach Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Philadelphia 76ers have an “elite” young talent on the roster, and his name isn’t Tyrese Maxey. Well, yes, Maxey also has the potential to be an elite three-level scorer, but head coach Doc Rivers had someone else in mind after Sunday night’s win over the Washington Wizards.

“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 “Defensively, I’m telling you, he’s going to be an elite defensive player in our league.”

Springer managed two steals, one rebound, and an assist in his three minutes of action versus the Wiz.

Defense has never been an issue for Springer, who has spent most of his sophomore season alongside Mac McClung with the Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers’ G-League affiliate. His 2.4 steals per game is the second-most in the G-League, trailing former top-five pick Kris Dunn.

It makes sense that Springer’s defense is so strong. At 6’4, his length is a serious boon when defending opposing guards.

But the former Tennesee Volunteer is still working out the offensive part of his game. He’s shooting a solid 54% from the field, but only 31.3% from deep, scoring 17.7 points per night in the G-League.

Maxey Calls Out Springer During Preseason

If anyone knows what it’s like to break into the league, it’s Springer’s teammate Tyrese Maxey. The former Kentucky Wildcat crushed expectations his sophomore season, showcasing an elite blend of scoring and speed.

A year older than Springer, Maxey’s taken on a bit of a mentorship role for the younger SEC product.

“He’s growing, man. I push him because I love him. He’s a year after me so I guess I’m a little big brother to him, but I’m proud of him,” Maxey said.

Maxey also cast a little light on Springer’s shooting improvement, which was demonstrably better heading into the new season.

“He’s shooting the ball well, too and that’s not going unnoticed. What he’s doing on the defensive end, pressuring and getting through screens, Spence (Spencer Rivers) calls him ‘unscreenable’. To be unscreenable in the NBA, that’s a good job,” Maxey said, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire during training camp last fall.

Springer Survived Sixers Trade Chatter

It wasn’t long ago that Springer was pegged as a likely trade casualty this year for the Sixers.

NBA insider Marc Stein revealed through his Substack a potential move the Sixers were expected to make at the deadline.

“There is a rising expectation that Philadelphia will look to move either Jaden Springer or Furkan Korkmaz before the Feb. 9 trade deadline in hopes of shedding luxury-tax dollars,” Stein wrote.

Ultimately, the Sixers moved Matisse Thybulle instead of Korkmaz or Springer. Perhaps the club feels strongly about Springer’s ability to develop an offensive game, something Thybulle failed to do during his tenure in Philadelphia.

And with Thybulle’s extension looming, the Sixers potentially felt like Springer’s upside, both in terms of skill and age, outmatched that of Thybulle.

Thybulle, for his part, has settled in nicely to his new digs in Portland, showcasing a level of shooting that eluded him in the City of Brotherly Love.