Player Grades for First Sixers Summer League Action

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 09 Tennessee at Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, TX – JANUARY 09: Tennessee Volunteers guard Jaden Springer (11) drives around Texas A&M Aggies guard Jay Jay Chandler (0) during the basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Texas A&M Aggies at Reed Arena on January 9, 2021 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire)

The Summer Sixers had an emphatic win over the Mavericks in the first game of summer league by a score of 95-73. It was an impressive win for the Sixers as they did not allow the Mavs to have a lead after the 9:04 mark in the first quarter. A win is always a win, but Summer League is much more about developing the young players so here are a few takeaways from their performances today:

Tyrese Maxey: A-

The first look at the second-year player following his excellent rookie season did not disappoint. Tyrese Maxey proved to be the best player on the court- just as was expected to be the case. It was somewhat surprising that Maxey was selected to be a part of these summer Sixers due to his cemented role with the team heading forward and he proved to be a different class than the others on the court.

Maxey ended with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in 25 minutes of play. He sought out contact when attacking the basket and looked to create his own perimeter shot in a way that wasn’t the case last year. The former Kentucky Wildcat has continued to develop his game and (assuming he isn’t traded) looks to be a key piece in the Sixers’ long-term plans.

Isaiah Joe: B+

Isaiah Joe is a weapon. The sharpshooter impressed early on due to his willingness to shoot and ability to create separation with off-ball movement. This commitment to freeing himself up away from the ball was impressive and allowed him to showcase his NBA-ready range.

The former Arkansas Razorback ended with 15 points, 4 rebounds, and shot 4-8 from beyond the arc. Joe also recorded a team-high +33 +/- rating. The Sixers looked to the second-year player early and often and he proved ready for the challenge. Isaiah Joe looks to compete for rotational minutes this year and had a solid first audition for this role.

Jaden Springer: B+

Despite being extremely young, Jaden Springer already looks the part of an NBA-ready defender. His hip mobility, active hands, and willingness to stick with a guy are impressive at such a young age. He ended with 11 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 rebound in 24 minutes of play. Although shooting 4-12 from the field and 1-3 from beyond the arc isn’t ideal, Springer looked comfortable on the offensive end by getting to his spots and also showed flashes as a passer.

The rookie would disagree with my grade as he gave himself a “C” in his post-game media availability. Springer talked about getting the first-game jitters out of the way and that there will be more to show next game. He also looked to show some chemistry with Tyrese Maxey which is exciting when thinking about a potential future backcourt. The 18-year-old looked more NBA-ready than expected and this is a solid first performance to build on.

“Bball” Paul Reed: C+

In year two, Paul Reed continues to possess the appealing “weirdness” in his game. He ended with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 blocks in 24 minutes of play. While his stat line was solid, the former G-League MVP had moments where he appeared out of control and did not play quite up to the ability he is capable of. BBall Paul settled down in the second half, and had some very positive flashes but was likely too erratic for the Sixers’ liking.

In his postgame media availability, Reed mentioned that he believes his NBA potential is as a versatile stretch four, but he did not flash much shooting ability today. There is likely much more to come from Reed in this summer league, but his willingness to do the little things and give constant effort will continue to provide him with opportunities to perform.

Filip Petrusev: C-

The Serbian stretch big man failed to truly find his rhythm in this game. He ended with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist while shooting just 1-4 from the field and 0-2 from beyond the arc. It is far too soon to write him off, but Petrusev lacked the offensive pop that was hoped to see.

On the positive side, the former ABA league MVP impressed as a shot-blocker. The 6’11 forward sent back three shots and also tallied a steal in his 19 minutes of play. Petrusev is undoubtedly looked at as more of a long-term project for the Sixers, but a better offensive performance in the next game would help add faith to their belief in him.

Braxton Key: B

The decision by Charles Bassey to sit out of tonight’s matchup due to contractual issues proved to benefit Braxton Key in a major way. Despite being listed as a guard, Key was not afraid to bang with the big boys and showed an intriguing handle with the ability to go coast to coast. After spending time with the Delaware Blue Coats last season, Key showed some new layers to his game and added 11 points and 3 rebounds off the bench in tonights matchup.

Summer League Head Coach, Brian Adams mentioned the former Virginia Cavalier as a guy that has been a pleasant surprise so far when talking to media following the game. As he put it, “Braxton Key has just been very consistent the whole time and it’s great to see.” It is unlikely he will be able to find a way on the Sixers roster, but if he can continue to produce he may draw some attention from other teams.

Rayjon Tucker: C+

The human highlight reel did his best to get out on the break in this game and ended with 12 points on 4-5 shooting from the field. He also added a corner three to his tally and showed the impressive energy that has provided him with NBA opportunities. Tucker is the most athletic guy on the court on a nightly basis but still has yet to find his niche when it comes to his NBA role. He showed some ball-handling ability and also added two rebounds in the game.

Tucker was spoken highly of by rookie Jaden Springer following the game. After asking the 18-year-old if there are any guys that he has built chemistry with, he emphatically brought up Rayjon Tucker. As Springer put it, “There’s a few guys on the team, like Tyrese (Maxey), Zay (Isaiah Joe), Rayjon Tucker- that’s my guy right there.” Both Doc Rivers and Brian Adams said they looked to the guys with experience to set the tone for the summer league and Tucker looks to be succeeding in this role.

The Sixers will be back in action for their second summer league game on Thursday at 9 PM. For all other players, their grade simply goes in as “incomplete” at this point. Look for each guy to do their best to make a name for themselves during the remainder of the summer league.

Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire