Philadelphia 76ers: Jaden Springer can help to fill Danny Green’s shoes

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Over the month of December, Danny Green has arguably been the Philadelphia 76ers‘ fourth-best player behind Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Seth Curry.

He’s been a calming presence on defense, an effective disruptor in the steals game, and has helped to provide adequate spacing for Embiid in the paint, even if his shots from beyond the arc are only falling at a 30.9 percent clip. Whether deployed in place of Matisse Thybulle or alongside him as a very intriguing wing pairing, Green has been one of the Sixers’ few two-way players and has provided Philly with some veteran leadership in a month defined by who isn’t on the court in any given game.

But now, at least for the foreseeable future, the team will have to go without him, as Green is the latest Sixers player to test positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated and boosted and will miss Philly’s bout against the Atlanta Hawks at the bare minimum.

Unfortunate? Undoubtedly, but fortunately for fans of the Philadelphia 76ers, the news isn’t all doom and gloom. No, in a very welcomed turn of events, Jaden Springer has been removed from the team’s injury report and will be eligible to take the court in place of Philly’s oldest player.

Jaden Springer could finally get some run with the Philadelphia 76ers.

If you only watch the Philadelphia 76ers and no other basketball, you have exactly 2:04 of tape on 2021 first-round pick Jaden Springer.

Initially receiving some garbage time run versus the New Orleans Pelicans on opening night alongside the likes of Charles Bassey, Aaron Henry, and Paul Reed – who earned 71 extra seconds for good measure – Springer took exactly zero shots, scooped up zero rebounds, and didn’t have a single measurable stat outside of time played.

Did he play well in those two minutes and four seconds? I mean… no, not really, but when you only play the final two minutes of a 20 point win, what can anyone really expect?

Since that fateful day back in October, Springer has kept a low profile by NBA standards, dressing for six games with zero appearance and exclusively earning minutes in Delaware with the Blue Coats. In the nine games he’s appeared in, Springer has averaged a respectable 15 points, four rebounds, and 2.7 assists, to go with 2.1 steals and .8 blocks per game. While his 3 point shooting remains a work in progress, hitting just 28 percent of his 2.8 attempts per game, Springer has looked active both on and off-ball and has provided energy to one of the best teams in the G-League.

All in all, not too shabby for a rookie combo guard dubbed a bit of a developmental project coming out of Tennessee, the college, and the state.

Had Springer not suffered a concussion earlier this month, Springer might just have earned minutes for the Sixers already, and their game against the New Orleans Pelicans might not have been postponed due to a lack of available players.

*sigh* well hey, better late than never, I guess.

So, for those Sixers fans who don’t watch the Blue Coats, let alone the 2020 Volunteers, what should be expected from Springer if he takes the court against the Atlanta Hawks? Well, in a word: Energy. Measuring in at 6-foot-4, 204 pounds, Springer is a speedy young combo guard who can fly up and down the court in the transition game and throw down dunks a la our old pal Zhaire Smith. Like Smith, Springer has great hopes, is a pesky defender, and has plus athleticism for his size, but lacks the outside shot needed to help space the court around a generational big man like Joel Embiid, who understandably does his best work inside the arc.

Still, when a team has less than a dozen players available and 240 minutes in any given game to fill, Springer’s energy, hops, and defensive upside sure could come in handy, especially against a team with talented guards like the Atlanta Hawks. With Matisse Thybulle all but surely destined to take Danny Green’s spot in the starting lineup, expect Springer to play low-double-digit minutes early on as a mid-bench reserve behind Isaiah Joe, with more minutes potentially available depending on how the games go on.

Next. Seth Curry needs more minutes at point guard. dark

Does Jaden Springer have a spot in the Philadelphia 76ers’ future? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I was fully expecting the team to either trade the pick alongside Ben Simmons for a star or in a smaller deal for a starting-caliber rotation player, so the idea of utilizing a bench spot on a developmental 19-year-old who doesn’t help the team win now felt rather perplexing. But do you know what? I’d happily be proven wrong by a strong showing over the next few games, as it would all but surely help the team’s future one way or the other.