Recapping The Summer League For Sixers Rookies

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 07: Shirts line the seats of the Wells Fargo Center for fans before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 07, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers‘ current draft class of rookies enjoyed varying levels of success during the five-game Vegas Summer League that concluded Tuesday.

Three out of four 2021 draft picks participated, each performing well, periodically, in their future NBA roles. The fourth, Charles Bassey, is in the middle of a contract holdout. Reportedly, the length of the deal is causing a discrepancy, which has led to Bassey’s extended absence.

Jaden Springer

From his debut against Dallas, the Tennessee product has featured a forceful ability to attack the basket, often welcoming the frequent presence of midair contact with a composed finish at the rim. Springer showed the ability to space the floor from range with some corner threes but had a slight tendency to pull up from the foul line when driving the lane.

The 6-foot 4-inch versatile guard seems to be motivated defensively and uses his 6-foot 8-inch wingspan to successfully switch onto wings and taller guards. The ability to switch onto multiple positions defensively is a highly-valued commodity in the league. This is especially true for teams with aspirations of deep playoff runs, like the Sixers.

The first-round pick’s best performance during Summer League came during the last game versus Utah, which should be encouraging. The soon-to-be 19-year-old accumulated 21 points while shooting 8/14 from the field and 5/6 from the line to close out Summer League. Additionally, the former Volunteer dished out 3 assists, pulled in 2 rebounds and 2 steals, and had the best plus/minus on the team at +14.

Filip Petrusev

The 6-foot 11-inch Serbian questionably didn’t receive many opportunities during Summer League, only playing in four games and averaging 17 minutes per game. The former Gonzaga big man excelled on defense, blocking 2.0 shots per game. While Petrusev wasn’t shooting threes much, he is certainly capable and displayed adequate touch on the jumpers and free throws that were taken.

The 2020-21 ABA League MVP‘s most productive Summer League outing was in the second game of the summer against Atlanta. The 21-year old played nearly 24 minutes and gained 8 points on 4/7 shooting, 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists with 0 turnovers, 2 blocks, and one steal.

According to recent reports, the 50th pick will spend this season refining his skillset overseas, with a team familiar to Sixers fans, Anadolu Efes.

Aaron Henry

The near 22-year old Henry found himself getting more of an opportunity as Summer League progressed. Standing at 6-feet 6-inches with a 6-foot 10-inch wingspan, Henry is the adequate size for a wing in today’s NBA. This summer, he was able to use his size to occasionally disrupt opposing shot-creators. Similarly, his long wingspan allows the former Michigan State Spartan to shoot the ball over defenders smoothly.

Like Jaden Springer, Henry’s best game of the Summer League came in the finale, against Utah. The lefty wing compiled 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and one steal in just under 25 minutes. The undrafted two-way player shot 7/10 from the field, including 3/5 from distance. His role as a ball-handler was steadily growing as Summer League progressed–hopefully a trend that will continue into the preseason. Henry will see most of his minutes come in Delaware this year but could easily play himself into a larger role in the future, depending on his performance.

The rookies’ subsequent opportunity to impress will be training camp, starting in late September. Furthermore, Sixers fans’ can hopefully get their first look at Charles Bassey and watch the team next in the preseason in early October.