76ers Players Who Can Benefit Most from Strong Training Camp Performances
For the most part, the Philadelphia 76ers know what they have on their roster.
For now, at least.
Until this franchise brokers the long-awaited Ben Simmons blockbuster, it will largely rely on players who were around last season. Continuity has its perks, but creating juicy training camp storylines isn't one of them.
There are, however, a few unknowns on this roster who could shake things up and play their way into much bigger roles with strong camps.
The Sixers have some belief in Isaiah Joe.
After making him the 49th overall pick in 2020, they allowed him to become one of just five second-rounders from that class to play 40-plus games. He totaled fewer than 400 minutes on the season, but Philly kept going back to him for a reason.
His skill set could really help this rotation. He's a lethal long-range shooter who holds his own defensively. If he can find more consistency with his flashes of shot-creation, he might be able to unseat—or at least challenge—Furkan Korkmaz in the perimeter rotation.
To do that, Joe must maximize every three-point look he gets in camp and bring at least one other plus skill inside the lines. The Sixers have a few designated sharpshooters on the roster, so Joe needs to find another way to stand out.
Tyrese Maxey had a few "Wow!" moments in his freshman campaign, but the Sixers never seemed certain on how big a part he should play in their win-now plans. He wound up 10th on the team in total minutes during the regular season and was ninth during the playoffs.
There were electric flashes and stretches of near-silence. There was energy and shot-creation but also shooting woes and inconsistency on defense. These were the growing pains typical of a rookie, and the Sixers decided they could only live with so many of them while trying to contend for an NBA title.
Should Maxey uncover the key to consistency, that would unlock all kinds of possibilities regarding his minutes, touches and chances to contribute. The Sixers could use his handles, quickness and athleticism on the perimeter. His energy would also be invaluable, if they ever find themselves slogging through the 82-game marathon.
Having said all of that, he must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's ready for big things right now. Philly will remain in the championship chase as long as Joel Embiid mans the middle, and Maxey must show he can help achieve that goal.
The Sixers seem like they're playing the long game with 2021 No. 28 pick, Jaden Springer.
He's not even 19 years old yet—he will be on Saturday—and his game sometimes shows his age. He is a relentless defender, but offense is more of a question mark. His handle isn't advanced and can get loose. Finishing can be a challenge when he doesn't have the time and space to load up. And while he shot a good percentage from three in college (43.5), it came on a tiny simple (46 attempts).
Patience seems like it will be key in bringing out Springer's best, but he could change that conversation during training camp.
If his three-ball is reliable, and his handle has improved, he could present a compelling two-way argument for minutes. The Sixers' point guard position is up in the air due to the Simmons saga, and Springer could pounce on the opportunity to force his way into the mix.