As the end of the year rapidly approaches and Philadelphia sports teams continue to spiral into chaos, it’s a good time to step back and look at the bigger picture. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be completing my ‘22 to watch in 2022’ ranking, which will consist of the 22 most exciting young names to keep an eye on over the next calendar year.
So far, we’ve taken a look at the names in the Phillies’ prospect pool, and taken a Broad Street Bullies flyover. But now it’s time to turn our attention to the Sixers.
#22 Jaden Springer
Selected by the Sixers in this years’ NBA Draft, the 19-year-old is wasting no time in making a name for himself on the teams’ G-League affiliate. Before suffering a concussion, Springer averaged 15 points per game to go with 2.7 assists and 4 rebounds.
While his skillset may be raw, Springer has shown plenty of growth on the defensive end since joining Delaware and if the current COVID situation is anything to go by, we could well see him called up to the Sixers sooner than expected.
Even if that isn’t the case, Springer has a nice well-rounded base to build on. He told our lead writer, Sean Barnard, that he models his game after Jrue Holiday. If we fast forward to the start of next season in hopes that the Ben Simmons saga is over, there’s a strong chance that Jaden can ‘spring’ into the equation if he continues to perform well at the G-League level.
#20 Paul Reed
Everyone loves BBall Paul and the only reason he ranks higher than Springer on this list is because he already has NBA experience and continues to turn heads in the G-League.
Doc Rivers noted that Reed struggles with execution – a pattern that can be applied to the whole team at this stage. However, that was the reason he was sent back down to the Blue Coats a few weeks back, in a bid to get him playing time.
We know that Reed is a fiery competition who can bring some real energy off the bench. If he can become a more consistent player, we may see him make those contributions for the Sixers on a more regular basis.
#7 Matisse Thybulle
Matisse is a perplexing player. On one hand, he delivers some of the most impressive defensive performances we’ve seen over the past five years or so, such as pocketing Steph Curry. On the other hand, he can’t really be relied on as a 3-and-D player and like Simmons, lacks an outside shot…although he actually tries.
Thybulle is a lovable character who is consistently among the top defenders in the NBA. The only thing preventing him from ranking higher on this list is the caliber of player above him, and the fact that he hasn’t been able to develop an offensive arsenal. But he’s so damn good defensively that his abilities on that end alone surge him into the top-10.
#2 Tyrese Maxey
In what is rapidly becoming a torrid season for the Sixers, Tyrese Maxey is the silver-lining. His rookie year was impressive and his heart on the court was visible a mile away. This year, it’s his hustle and creativity that’s keeping this team within punching distance of a win on a near nightly basis.
Maxey is a natural scorer at the point position and I still can’t believe he fell into the lap of Daryl Morey on Draft night. He’s thrived in a Simmons-less offense and for someone who is still so young in his development, plays with an aggressiveness well beyond his years.
When Maxey gets going, there are few who can keep up. The sky is so scarily high for the 21-year-old and he seems to raise it a little more each night purely through his will and desire to get better. He might not always be punching in 25-point games, but he’ll always inspire the team through relentless effort, and that’s all anyone in Philadelphia could ever ask of a player wearing a Sixers jersey.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire