Sixers Summer League observations: Springer and Smith lead the way

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Jaden Springer, Deleware Bluecoats (Philly Sports Network, Zach Ciavolella)

The Philadelphia 76ers made their way from Utah to Nevada as the Las Vegas Summer League began with a matchup against the New York Knicks. The Summer Sixers would take the game by a final score of 101-110, as several key players had an impressive afternoon. Here’s what stood out:

Jaden Springer fights through a flat tire to show out

If there’s a player on the Sixers’ Summer League roster who needs to show out, it’s former first-round pick Jaden Springer. Against the Knicks, he certainly accomplished that, scoring 23 points despite an early ankle injury that plagued him throughout the game.

Springer was locked in, aggressive, and his shot selection was far improved over games past as he shot 57.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from three. While there’s still more work to do offensively for Springer, it’s at least clear he’s making progress.

The Sixers will certainly hope that process continues as, based on their lack of moves this offseason, they may be relying on him more than ever this season.

Terquavion Smith shows two-way potential

Speaking of making progress, Terquavion Smith showed off huge strides in this game. He continues to show an ability off the catch-and-shoot and, even more important, as a defender in this game. Finishing with three steals and three blocks, Smith showed a concerted effort on that front which began with effort and hustle.

In addition to his impressive defense, Smith continued to impress as both a shooter and facilitator as he shot 42.9 percent from three on seven shots and racked up five assists. Of all the Sixers’ UDFAs, Smith continues to stick out in the most positive of ways.

Ricky Council IV is a menace in the best way

Ricky Council IV is an aggressive and physical player who looks like he could end another player’s career with a single dunk.

As exhilarating as the highs of Ricky Council are, the lows are exasperating. His highlight-reel dunk attempts are thrilling, but he balances those with moments of overhandling the ball, leading to multiple turnovers. He will have to tighten up his skills to truly make an impact at the next level, but shoring up his three-point shot could certainly distract from those shortcomings.

He has plenty to work on before contributing meaningful minutes to an NBA team, let alone the Sixers, but so far, Ricky Council IV is a menace in the best way.

Filip Petruzev has his best game, but is it enough?

In what was perhaps Filip Petruzev’s best game with the Sixers, the Serbian center was able to knock his shot with the most consistency we’ve seen yet. The key to his success was a Charmin soft touch in the post, midrange, and even once beyond the arc.

Can he keep that up against bigger and more physical defenders? If he finds his way on the Sixers’ regular season roster, which would be surprising after the addition of Mo Bamba and resigning of Montrezl Harrell, we’ll find out, but skepticism is still fair for the moment.

Still, this was an encouraging performance. One Petruzev can hopefully improve upon.

Up next for the Summer Sixers

Following this victory, the Summer Sixers face Jalen Hardy, Derek Lively II, and the Dallas Mavericks on July 10 at 8:00 PM EST. You can catch the game on ESPN U as you root on this Philadelphia 76ers’ Summer League squad.