Grading the Philadelphia 76ers’ 2021 NBA Draft class

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Philadelphia 76ers
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Jaden Springer may play valuable minutes for the Philadelphia 76ers.

After a long and expansive journey through the first 27 picks on the first round, the Philadelphia 76ers went on the clock at pick 28 and… actually selected a player.

I know, crazy, right? After months of anticipation, expectations, and hope that Daryl Morey and company would pull off a massive trade big or small, the Sixers actually selected a true blue, NCAA-experienced product that may just turn out to be pretty darn good in Tennessee’s Jaden Springer.

Measuring in at 6-foot-4, 204 pounds with a 6-foot-7.5 inch wingspan, Springer has a game reminiscent of complementary combo guards like Malcolm Brogdon, Fred VanVleet, and Tyrese Haliburton, aka a solid secondary ball-handler who can do a lot of things well but isn’t quite at the level of being a number one, two, or even three option on a championship-caliber team.

Springer is a good 3 point shooter statistically, as he drained 43.5 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc at Tennessee, but he did so on less than two attempts per game. His jump shot is odd, as is the general length of time it takes him to actually release the ball on 3 point attempts, but as Morey pointed out during his post-draft press availability, you don’t drain 81 percent of your free throw attempts if you have a fundamentally broken shot, as players like Lonzo Ball showed off early in his career.

In a complementary role, the 18-year-old could develop into a viable number two guard playing off of a legit point guard like Tyrese Maxey or a supplemental point paired up with a guard like Bradley Beal, who wants to dominate offensive possessions.

Could the Sixers have taken a player like Miles McBride, Isaiah Todd, or even former FanSided blogger Jason Preston? Sure. Preston specifically presented a very unique set of skills that could have been a lot of fun to watch playing off of Joel Embiid, but it’s hard to argue with Morey’s assertion that the team valued Springer higher than any trade offers that were on the table.

If Springer is a part of the Sixers’ playoff rotation next spring – assuming he’s still on the team – this pick is a home run. But even if he isn’t, landing an 18-year-old who is already a viable NBA defender with a developing outside shot is a solid use of the 28th overall pick.

Grade A-