High expectations for Jaden Springer
The Philadelphia 76ers and their fans suffered another disappointing end to the NBA season, being eliminated in the second round of the playoffs for the fourth time in five years. They haven’t been able to advance past the second round since they lost in the NBA Final in 2001.
During the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday evening, the 76ers traded away the 23rd overall pick in a deal that also included veteran Danny Green for De’Anthony Melton believing that the 24-year-old could help them get the next level. That doesn’t mean they’ve given up on developing young talent though. They were able to trade away the first-round pick because they still believe that the player, they drafted last year in the first round is poised to take a big step forward – Jaden Springer.
Springer was selected with the 28th overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft but had a variety of issues in his rookie season. He suffered a concussion in December and missed time due to left knee soreness as well. As a result, he only featured in a total of seven games for the 76ers.
“We think he can take a big leap forward. … Defensively, he’s there,” Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said at his post-draft press conference, via NBC Sports. “He’s only 19, I think, if my memory serves. He’s defensively an NBA player — (already) there, in my opinion. And then the offense was really coming on strong. He had some injury issues in the G League last year — in and out with sort of a nagging thing that is over. A lot of guys take a huge step forward Year 2. I think we expect that with Jaden.”
Springer did spend time playing in the G League though with the Delaware Blue Coats, getting the opportunity to prove what he can do on the court. In 19 regular-season games with the Blue Coats, Springer averaged an impressive 14.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals. Despite his disappointing first season in the NBA, Springer understands how important playing in the G League is for his overall development.
“The G League was great,” Springer said last month, via NBC Sports. “It definitely gave you an opportunity to play and compete, and just building your knowledge for the game. … I wasn’t getting much run up here, so being able to go there and just play and compete was great for me.”
His team is certainly hoping he will be able to make big steps forward in his second season, which may be one of the reasons they were comfortable trading away their first-round pick this season. The 76ers are looking to win now and believe that Springer can help them do that.
“Jaden’s young,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said at his end-of-season press conference, via NBC Sports. “Is he 19 yet? Nineteen years old. He was the youngest player in the NBA last year. He’s already got an NBA body. I think — and I’m probably outnumbered in this — I think he’s got a chance to be an elite defensive player. He’s got a lot of offensive things he has to work on.”
It remains to be seen how the youngster will perform in his second season in the NBA, but he will definitely get the opportunity to prove his value to the 76ers’ organization.