LAS VEGAS — Jaden Springer must practice patience.
His NBA Summer League experience has been different from that of other first-rounders this year. While other teams are featuring those rookies, Springer is deferring to the 76ers’ second-year players here.
On offense, the 28th pick is stationed deep in the corner behind the three-point line while Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe excel as the primary ballhandlers at the top of the key.
Out of rhythm, Springer scored just seven points on 3-for-9 shooting to go with two rebounds, two assists, and one steal in Thursday’s 96-88 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks. He’s averaging nine points for the Sixers (2-0) while shooting 7-for-21 (33.3%) from the field, including going 1-for-6 on three-pointers (16.7%).
But he’s in a tough spot, taking shots when they come his way Springer has made things happen a couple of times when he gets the ball, but those opportunities have been rare.
“At the end of the day, I could get him involved maybe with some more handoffs,” said assistant coach Brian Adams, who’s coaching the team. “But also he has to be able to be out there and make things happen when he gets it, because at the end of the day right now ... he’s competing to be a three-and-D perimeter player. So when he gets the ball, create plays and move the ball, attack the rim, hit threes when he can.
“So definitely can make a concerted effort at times. But at the same time, he’s got to be able to play without the ball and off of main actions.”
In this setting, Maxey is the Sixers’ primary scorer, averaging a summer-league best 26.0 points per game. The point guard finished with a game-high 31 points on 11-for-23 shooting Thursday. Seventeen of his points came during the fourth quarter and overtime period on a combined 6-for-9 shooting.
Joe, who’s averaging 18 points, is the Sixers’ secondary option. He finished with 21 points while making 6 of 15 shots Thursday, while Paul Reed made 8 of 14 shots en route to finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
So for Springer, this situation will be similar to an actual NBA game, where he’ll have to play off at least two primary scorers when in the game.
He’s not complaining.
“I just got to play my role,” Springer said, “Just show that I can do whatever I can do. I’m in the position that I’m in, so just keep working and keep staying patient.
“I feel like my time will come.”
The 18-year-old did have a couple of spectacular baskets after missing his three first-half shot attempts.
His first basket came on a skillful move that led to a corner step-back jumper with 6 minutes, 45 seconds left in the third quarter. A couple of minutes later, he picked up an errant pass from beyond the three-point line. Springer then spun past Atlanta’s DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, drove the lane, and went up and under the rim to score his second basket on a reverse layup.
“That was so nice,” Joe said. “He was coming right towards me. As soon as he jumped, that just looked good. [Jalen Johnson] flew over his head and [he used] the backboard right then and there. That move was tough. You have to be a [great] player to do that.”
Springer added another reverse layup to give the Sixers a 92-88 lead with 40.4 seconds left in overtime.
Right now, he’s been more impactful as a solid on-ball defender, averaging a block and a steal.
“I feel like I’m getting after it on defense,” Springer said. “I feel like I’m out there giving energy. They’ve been real big on that, preaching locking down on the other end.”
The Sixers will look to remain undefeated when they face the first-place Boston Celtics at 5 p.m. Saturday. Boston is 3-0.