In the fifth and final summer league game, the Sixers matched up with the Utah Jazz as Jaden Springer came alive to lead the team.
With the roster fairly set in stone and several key takeaways already made, the Sixers selected to roll out a “B squad” for the finale in order to give others a chance to showcase their skills. Tyrese Maxey remained away from the team after leaving for his camp, Filip Petrusev left Las Vegas in order to get back to Europe, Isaiah Joe is sidelined with an MCL sprain, and Rayjon Tucker was a late-game scratch. Lamar Peters was also ruled out due to Covid protocols, and Charles Bassey remained inactive due to contractual issues.
The Sixers faced off against a Utah Jazz team that was 3-1 in summer league coming into this game. They were led by Macio Teague, Jarell Martin, and Dakota Mathias. The former Sixer, Dakota Mathias, scored 22 points along with 5 rebounds and knocked down four of his nine three-point attempts in this matchup. The Jazz only had seven active players for this matchup. Paul White was forced to leave the game after just three minutes due to an ugly-looking knee injury.
Ultimately the Sixers were able to secure a 103-98 victory to end the summer league on a positive note. The mismatched roster stepped up to the challenge and did enough to secure the victory, with rookie Jaden Springer leading the team in scoring. The Summer Sixers impressed defensively and tallied an impressive 11 steals in the victory.
This was a very good final showing for Springer. He showed some positive strides in his shot creation and some intriguing flashes as a passer. Springer handled the ball much more with the limited roster and impressed in this role. He ended with 21 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and 2 steals while recording a team-high +14 rating.
He is still far from being able to contribute to the Sixers this season, but this performance was certainly one to build on for the rookie. He shot 8-14 from the field, which was also a positive considering some of his poor shooting performances in the previous games. There is still some mechanical work that needs to be done on his shooting form as he still tends to be short on just about all of his misses, including several airballs.
Summer league head coach Brian Adams talked about playing Springer in more of an on-ball role following the game and said he has shown flashes of this ability since the beginning of training camp. When asked about it himself, Springer talked about being comfortable in the pick-and-roll and put it, “Playing out the pick and roll makes it a lot easier because that’s the hardest thing to guard.” Due to his 6’4 frame, Springer’s potential would greatly increase if he can develop into a reliable secondary playmaker.
Another guy that has gotten progressively more comfortable as summer league has gone on, Aaron Henry, ended on a strong note. The Michigan State product tallied 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and shot 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. His sweet lefty stroke looked good, and Henry will look to keep developing this season on the two-way deal in which he is under contract. If he can continue to hit three’s at a reliable rate, it would increase his chances of getting on the court a great deal, and his ability to handle the ball was a pleasant surprise in summer league.
Despite the seemingly quiet game by his standards, Bball Paul ended with 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 steals. Reed connected on another three-pointer in this game which is super exciting to see. He also had some nice moments in the two-man game with Jaden Springer, which is exciting going forward. Head Coach Brian Adams raved about the work ethic of Paul Reed following this game and specifically talked about the work he has been putting in on his jumper.
The biggest takeaway for Paul Reed was how he flashed the ability to be effective as both a stretch four and as a small-ball center. These will both be spots where there will be a large amount of competition for in the second unit this season, and Reed needs to establish himself as the frontrunner. His quick feet and defensive instincts are extremely impressive, and this should carry over beyond the summer league.
Beyond these three, there were not many notes on the Sixers side of things. Frank Mason III looked solid and added 15 points with an impressive array of finishes. Daishen Nix showed flashes once again but was only given 14 minutes of play. Charles Mathews impressed with 14 points off the bench but is unlikely to get my NBA notice moving forward.
It has been cool to see the Sixers young core continuing to take strides forward as they look to cement their roles on the team moving forward. Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Paul Reed all looked a notch above the typical summer league level of play which is a positive sign for the Sixers. These young guys will now be given a chance to rest their legs, with the regular season training camp not starting up until September 28th.