The NBA draft provided hope for so many teams, but whether that hope turns into success depends on the situation.
For instance, the 76ers are in a win-now mode. So it wouldn’t be surprising if none of the three players selected Thursday finds rotation minutes next season.
So, how do you grade players who may not see the court? With an eye on the future and the impact they could eventually have.
Here is a look at each player and what the future could hold:
Jaden Springer, 6-foot-4 combo guard, Tennessee, No. 28 overall pick
Springer averaged just 12.5 points as a freshman, but he did show positives. First, he won’t turn 19 until September.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said the team received offers for the No. 28 pick but liked the upside of Springer.
“We thought he was a great fit, and It’s pretty rare to have a guy, especially at [pick] 28 who has already demonstrated a strong level of play in college basketball before the age of 19,” Morey said Thursday.
Springer also got better as the year went on. He averaged 16.3 points in his final 11 games, when his playing time increased appreciably.
He is confident going to the basket and shooting the three. But he attempted only 46 shots from beyond the arc, so, even though he shot 43.5%, it was a small sample size.
Like Tyrese Maxey, Springer doesn’t appear to be a pure point guard but might be able to provide minutes there it if he improves his handle. He appeared careless with the ball, and, while he might have gotten away with it in the SEC, he won’t in the NBA.
For instance, he averaged 2.9 assists to 2.4 turnovers, a ratio that won’t play well in the NBA.
What the Sixers like is that he is a willing defender, although some of the gambles he took in college won’t work in the NBA.
Was it a good pick? Look at whom the Sixers bypassed. It seems like decent value. We had him going 26 in our Inquirer mock draft.
For a player with the reputation of a hard worker who doesn’t shy away from playing defense and plays with confidence on offense, he could be a positive addition.
Don’t expect immediate results, but this appears to be a solid pick.
Filip Petrusev, 6-11 center, Gonzaga and KK Mega Basket in Serbia’s Adriatic League, No. 50 overall
Petrusev, 21, averaged 17.5 points and was the 2019-20 West Coast Conference player of the year at Gonzaga before playing in the Adriatic League last season, in which he averaged 23.7 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Morey suggested that Petrusev won’t be with the Sixers next season.
“I think Petrusev is somebody who has a real chance to help us down the road,” Morey said. “He is likely to start overseas and then be someone who can come over later.”
In viewing the tape, one can see that Petrusev is effective in pick-and-roll situations, moves well without the ball, displays a good shooting touch and excellent vision, and is an adept passer. At 235 pounds, he will have to get stronger. What has to be encouraging is his development from his freshman to sophomore year at Gonzaga and from his sophomore season to last year.
He’s no sure thing, but at 50 this looks like a good down-the-road pick.
Charles Bassey, 6-11 center, Western Kentucky, No. 53 overall
Unlike Petrusev, Bassey will be expected to be on the team next season, and, depending on whether the Sixers re-sign free agent Dwight Howard, there could be a need for a backup center or even a third center.
He grew up in Nigeria and came to the U.S. in his teens. After an injury-plagued sophomore year that limited him to 10 games because of a season-ending broken tibia, he bounced back as a junior, averaging 17.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.1 blocked shots.
He is an elite shot-blocker, and some are comparing him to Atlanta’s Clint Capela. Bassey has an extremely high motor. His offensive game, as the comparison to Capela suggests, needs plenty of refinement, although he appears more advanced at this stage than the Atlanta center was.
Bassey, who turns 21 in October, showed a willingness to take his game away from the basket, attempting 59 three-pointers this season, albeit connecting at a 30.5% clip.
He seems to have good upside, and, at 53, this looks like a good pick. Whether he is ready to contribute in a backup role as a rookie will be key to his value.