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As the 2021 NBA Draft approached, many assumed the Philadelphia 76ers would move their late first-round pick in a deal to acquire a veteran player that could help the Sixers compete for a title.

However, Daryl Morey and the Sixers front office had a young prospect on their board that they liked for the team’s future. When the Sixers got on the board with the 27th overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, they selected Tennessee standout, Jaden Springer.

At the time, Springer was just 18 years old. He entered the draft after playing in just 25 games in Tennessee. When the Sixers made the selection, it was clear Springer would likely take time to develop before he saw the court for steady playing time.

Springer never carved out a role for himself in Philadelphia’s rotation during his rookie season. Instead, he spent a large chunk of his time with the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. In 19 games, Springer averaged 26 minutes on the court.

During that time, the rookie put up 14 points per game while draining 46 percent of his shots from the field and 24 percent of his three-point attempts. On the main roster, Springer appeared in just two games during garbage time.

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Considering how young he is with a lack of experience at the college and the professional level, it’s difficult to gauge Springer’s timeline to becoming a playable prospect for the Sixers. However, according to a report from Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck, the Sixers are entering 2022-2023 confident in Springer’s ability to win a steady role on the main roster.

“Elsewhere in young depth musings, the team was satisfied with the progress shown by 2021 first-round pick Jaden Springer throughout his time in the G-League, and there is hope that the year of experience will have him ready to compete for a rotation job in training camp.”

Springer will have plenty of time to prove himself this offseason. With a likely spot on the Sixers’ Summer League roster along with training camp and preseason to follow, Springer has tons of ways he can prove his value leading up to the start of the 2022-2023 season.

Considering the Sixers lack depth, an improved Springer in year two would be a huge win for the 76ers as they need all of the reliable reserves they can get as they enter another critical year in Joel Embiid’s prime. 

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.

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