With Joel Embiid, James Harden, De’Anthony Melton, and Furkan Korkmaz all out for the Philadelphia 76ers for their first preseason game, Jaden Springer was thrust into action against the Boston Celtics on October 8. Springer made a case to be in the rotation, scoring 14 points on five-for-seven shooting while getting an impressive block on Jayson Tatum.
Tyrese Maxey vocalized his pride in his third-year teammate for being ready when the Sixers needed him.
“I’m just proud of him, man,” Maxey told Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “He’s been working the last three years. I told him, ‘This year, it’s time. We’re probably going to need you. We’re going to need you to step up and play bigger and older than what you are. … So I’m proud of him.”
Harris praised Springer for his efforts on the defensive end.
“We call him a mini-boulder,” Tobias Harris told Pompey. “You ain’t moving him when he’s on defense. So he showed all that today, which is amazing to see.”
With Harden on the trading block, Springer’s role with the Sixers may get bigger. If his preseason performance was a sign of things to come, his youth and athleticism could be of use to the Sixers this season.
Sixers’ Defensive Personnel Praise Jaden Springer
The praise for Springer didn’t stop with Maxey and Harris. Some of the Sixers’ more defensive-minded players, like Patrick Beverley and PJ Tucker, also had some kind words for their teammate.
Beverley said that Springer’s production is not a shock to him following the offseason the latter had.
“These are things he’s been doing all summer,” Beverley told Pompey. “So it’s not a surprise. It might be a surprise to people that haven’t been around. But we’ve been around Jaden.
“My thing is, shoot when you are open and crash offensive rebounds, be the hardest playing person when you are on the court at all times. He did that today.”
Tucker revealed what he tells Springer and how that paid off for him when he took the floor.
“I tell him every day, ‘Every time you get an opportunity, you go out [hard],’” Tucker said. “It doesn’t matter how much time is left, who’s in there, or what’s going on. Go out there and play hard, play the right way, do the stuff right. And you get to reap the reward from it.’
“He played well. I encourage him.”
It sounds like Springer is well-liked by his teammates. Their support may very well be how he breaks into the rotation for the 2023-24 season.
Nick Nurse’s Thoughts on Jaden Springer’s Training Camp
During Sixers Media Day on October 5, Sixers head Nick Nurse revealed how Springer had done during training camp.
“He’s trying to do everything right. He’s playing hard, and he’s physical, and he’s into the ball from the start of practice, every early drill, even some of it that’s not almost not even at game speed yet, but he’s always going at game speed,” Nurse said, per Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin.
Nurse added how he’s refining Springer’s defense, specifically how they are using his tools to turn him into a good defender for his size.
“There is some things that I’m trying to do to make sure he understands to use those abilities that like some of his physicality,” Nurse added. “Just because he’s a guard doesn’t mean he can’t be a good basket protector. Maybe not a rim protector, but he can — we’re working on him getting over there and taking charges or going up vertical, using the gifts that he has to do some of that stuff.”
Nurse made it clear that Springer left a good impression during practices.
“He’s done well,” Nurse finished. “He’s done very well, and he’s doing what he can do. He gets to the front of the rim. He’s limiting his mistakes, which is, I think that’s what he needs to do. Play hard and limit mistakes.”
So far, the first returns on Springer have been promising, even if they’ve come in games that don’t count. The Sixers will know the kind of player they have if and when they play him in the regular season rotation.