Sixers Sign 23-Year-Old Guard Amid Injury Issues

Saban Lee, Sixers

Getty Saben Lee #38 of the Detroit Pistons drives to the basket against Matisse Thybulle #22 of the Philadelphia 76ers in the second half at the Wells Fargo Center on April 10, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers defeated the Pistons 118-106.

The injury bug has bit the Sixers in a major way during the early stages of the season. Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, and Joel Embiid are each set to miss at least the next handful of games which puts the team in a difficult position. While the team overcame this in the recent matchup against the Brooklyn Nets in which they secured a 115-106 victory, Philadelphia is still extremely depleted at the guard position.

Daryl Morey is never one to sit around when the roster needs action. Per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the Sixers signed Saben Lee to a two-way deal. Philadelphia elected to waive Michael Foster Jr. to make room for the 23-year-old.

Who is Saben Lee?

Lee was the 38th overall pick in the 2020 draft and was selected by the Utah Jazz after spending three years at Vanderbilt. He was immediately traded to the Detroit Pistons where he inked a two-way deal. Lee was traded back to the Jazz along with Kelly Olynk in the deal that landed Bojan Bogdanovic. He was waived following this trade and has been playing with the Raptors 905 since this point.

Through his two seasons as a professional, Lee has played a total of 85 games at the NBA level. In his 16.3 minutes per game, he has averaged 5.6 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 rebounds. The guard has connected on 22 of his 83 (26.5%) three-point attempts in the NBA thus. This is too small of a sample size to be concerned and it should be noted he shot over 30% from beyond the arc in all three years of college.

Lee looks to have taken a further step forward this season in the G League. Through his opening seven games, he has averaged 30.6 points, 7.4 assists, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game. He also is connecting on 47.2% of his three-point attempts while launching 7.6 long-range attempts per game.

Sixers Roster Outlook

In order to make room for the third-year guard the Sixers were forced to release to open up a two-way slot by releasing Foster Jr. The G League Ignite product saw his first NBA opportunity against the Nets (although brief) as he closed out the matchup once the outcome was decided.

Per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Sixers are hoping that Foster Jr clears waivers so they can bring him back to join the Delaware Blue Coats. It is important to note that the Sixers will continue to hold his G League rights as he is an affiliate player. This means no team can take control unless they want him a part of their NBA roster. The 19-year-old has a polished game for his age and is an intriguing blend of big man and wing so the Sixers would be wise to keep him around and see what he can develop into.

It was somewhat surprising to see Foster Jr. be removed from his two-way slot instead of Julian Champagnie. The Saint John’s product has been much more inconsistent during his time but the Sixers must have seen something they believe in. Philadelphia still holds an open spot on their full 15-man roster as well.

It is clear the roster is not yet complete and adding Lee likely is not the only move Morey will make. However, it is a positive sign to see Morey taking action to help the team survive this tough stretch of injuries and hopefully, Lee will make an impact moving forward.

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