As the Utah and Vegas summer leagues draw to a close, we take a look at nine players who were part of the Summer Sixers and see which prospects have a future with the organization.
It was apparent that around two minutes into the opening game of the Summer League, Reed was too good to play. Credit to Reed, who Doc Rivers has praised countless times for his work ethic, for wanting to get more reps, but it seems clear that Reed will get some serious backup five minutes this season.
Reed, who was the team’s primary backup center during the playoffs, averaged 17 points on 59.6 true shots at Utah. He also had 11 rebounds and grabbed 2.5 steals in 30 minutes per game. What was most encouraging was that it looked like Bball Paul had tinkered with his shot, going 2 of 5 from three. Reed’s ability to stretch the ground at the NBA level — something he’s done well in the G League before — makes him even more intriguing as a big combo.
Much like Reed, it was clear that Joe was above most other players competing in the Summer League. In five total games, Joe averaged 15.8 points in 24 minutes per game. He shot an absurd 20 of 38 (52.6) from three. He showed some of his playmaking skills, an area Rivers and the team wanted him to grow, with 2.4 assists per game. He also had 2.6 steals per game.
I’m in the camp that doesn’t understand why Joe didn’t have a longer NBA look. Yes, those are Summer League numbers, but you sent him there for a reason and he excelled in what was supposed to be a big summer for him (Joe’s contract is not guaranteed this season) . He showed a little more rebound and was more solid defensively, to go along with his strong lateral quickness and instincts. The rotation is much more crowded this season, so Joe will likely battle with Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz to be the 10th man on the team. Joe might be the best 3 and D archetype among these names listed.
Summer League was a bit of a mixed bag for Bassey. At times he showed why he might have deserved a look as a substitute five last season. Other times he fought mightily against fouls and turnovers. Defensive skill and chops were on display, but so were discipline issues, as Bassey averaged four fouls and more than two turnovers in 20.7 minutes per game.
Bassey is still 21 and in just his second NBA season. He can’t reach restricted free agency until 2024 so the team can take his time with his development. We’ll see if he gets more attention in 2022-23.
Springer, 19, showed his elite athleticism but also the serious shortcomings of his game. The 2021 first-round pick was able to blast defenders, reach the edge and shoot free throws, but his shooting remains a very serious question mark. His defense may already be ready for the NBA, but it’s hard to imagine Rivers seriously considering giving Springer regular rotational minutes. Springer is probably at least a year away.
To call the Queen’s Summer League a ‘mixed bag’ would be a huge understatement. Sometimes we’ve seen the G League MVP show off exactly why the Sixers brought him here. At 6-foot-6, Queen is a solid point guard, a great athlete, and has a high engine at both ends. Turnover issues (4.3 per game) and his outside shooting (25% from three) are the biggest concerns as Queen heads to a partially guaranteed deal.
Short of a trade, it’s hard to see a path for Queen to make the opening night roster. He seems like an excellent candidate for a two-way deal, depending on how things go at camp. The fact that Queen’s free throw numbers (19 of 20 in the Summer League) are so good gives you hope he could expand his range – but he’s not there yet.
Charlie Brown Jr.
Brown impressed on the defensive end during his brief stint in the NBA last season, but he showed a little more of his offensive game during the Summer League. While 0-for-9 and 3-for-12 performances skewed his overall shooting numbers, Brown flashed a little on the dribble and teases shooting ability despite a funky outing. This was most evident in the team’s final Summer League game against the Bulls where he scored 21 points, hit 2 of 4 of three, 7 of 7 on the line and had four assists.
Brown is an ideal two-way player in that if the team is missing a wing, the 25-year-old can fill in admirably, especially defensively. The swing skill for him – as with almost all young wings – is shooting. He can defend at the NBA level, he can rebound well on the wing and it’s not a disaster if he has to dribble. If he can shoot three like he did in the G League last year (37% on 5.4 attempts) at the next level, he has a chance to be a solid bench – here or elsewhere.
Michael Foster Jr.
Foster entered the Summer League without any formal agreement with the Sixers, but the G League Ignite product was tied to an Exhibit 10 deal in Vegas. Foster is just 19 and still powerful, but the physical attributes are intriguing at 6ft 8in. Foster played less than 15 minutes per game this summer, but still averaged 5.9 points, 4.7 rebounds and nearly one block and one steal per game. He also went 2 of 6 of three, big flashing combo potential. If the Sixers are looking to pivot from Julian Champagnie with their second-place finish back and forth, Foster is an interesting candidate.
Riller hasn’t had a ton of runs in the Summer League either, but has shone in the last two games when he has. He was effective, scoring 18 points in 18 minutes against the Nuggets and 19 points in just under 18 minutes against the Bulls. He was 5 of 9 on three with a 67.5 true shooting percentage on those games.
Riller signed a two-way deal with the Sixers ahead of the 2021-22 season but suffered a torn meniscus in the preseason. The team was forced to move on and Riller missed the entire season. Riller’s size and lack of elite athleticism are concerning, but he’s shown the ability to execute on offense and create from the dribble, attributes the Sixers could use. The 25-year-old is also expected to be a two-way candidate – although at this stage he hasn’t received a camp invite.
We haven’t seen much of Petrusev this summer either. The 2021 second-round pick has played overseas for the past two seasons, which could explain why he wasn’t extended to Vegas. He played just four games, shining in his last performance with 14 points in 16 minutes while shooting 5 of 7 from the field and 1 of 1 from three. He also recorded three blocks. His overall defense shone during his two Summer League spells in 2021 and 2022. The 22-year-old will likely spend another season away.