Despite watching Mike Scott struggle all season long to be anything more than a replacement-level option for the Philadelphia 76ers in 2020-21, Daryl Morey only addressed his lack of frontcourt shooting on the margins, opting to sign Anthony Tolliver via free agency and Gary Clark over a bigger name contributor.
Heading into the 2021-22 season, Morey and company weren’t going to let that happen again.
With two picks to play in the second round after purchasing the 53rd overall pick from the New Orleans Pelicans earlier in the day, the Sixers decided to address their frontcourt with a former Gonzaga Bulldog who took leaps and bounds as a shooter while playing in Europe this past season.
Folks, meet the newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers, Filip Petrusev.
Filip Petrusev is the Philadelphia 76ers’ new 3-and-D big.
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In 2017, the Philadelphia 76ers used a first-round pick in the 20s on a long, lanky French forward with professional experience playing for KK Mega Basket in the ABA.
That player, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, turned in a few interesting seasons under the watchful eye of Brett Brown before having a second life with the Brooklyn Nets in 2020-21 as a defensive stopper coming off the bench.
Was that pick a good one? Eh, depends on your projections. One could argue TLC didn’t quite live up to his expectations and was outplayed by his draft classmate Furkan Korkmaz, who was picked two slots later, but do you know what? Sticking around in the NBA is hard and remaining a rotational piece on a playoff squad deserves respect.
Could Filip Petrusev be the Sixers’ next great KK Mega Basket success story, one who actually succeeds with the club long-term?
As it turns out, the answer is a decisive yes.
A former member of the Gonzaga Bulldogs from 2018-20, Petrusev is a 6-10 combo big capable of filling a Mike Muscala-type role if he hits his potential.
Though his numbers were uneven with Gonzaga – as he averaged 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds a night as a sophomore but was a non-factor from beyond the arc – Petrusev seemingly discovered his touch from beyond the arc as a Megaman(?), draining 41.9 percent of his shots from beyond the arc while averaging 23.6 points in 32 minutes of action a night on his way to winning AVA MVP.
At 21-years-old, Petrusev is almost two years older than Tyrese Maxey but still has plenty of room to grow his game.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Philadelphia 76ers desperately needed a big-bodied shooter coming off the bench last season, so securing a viable reserve with said skill set, maybe even on a two-way contract, would be an ideal use of assets, especially when you consider how costly a stretch four/five can become on the open market. Though Filip Petrusev alone may not be an immediate contributor to the same level as his new teammate Jaden Springer, he’s a Paul Reed-esque late second-round selection who could surprise some people if given a chance to shine in the G-League.
UPDATE: Per Rich Hoffman of The Athletic, Filip Petrusev is expected to be a stash pick overseas. Bummer.